Middlesbrough Mela brings to Albert Park a fascinating outdoor exhibition that highlights members of the local community that have gone that extra mile to support and inspire those that have faced challenges or needed extra support.

The hidden heroes whose acts of kindness have really made a difference to those around them have been captured by award winning Portrait of Britain 2020 photographer Joanne Coates.

Glimpses of their actions can be seen as part of the exhibition that will be on display throughout summer 2021.

John Kabuye from the Unbunu Multicultural Centre is one of the individuals featured in the exhibition, throughout 2020 John and Irene aided the community with food, community support, and helped to stop social isolation. John describes his actions “I need this to be a people centre. Come anytime you want. Come and talk. Don’t feel isolated, we are here to talk.”

Award winning documentary photographer Joanne Coates is a working class documentary storyteller who uses the medium of photography. Based in the North of England. She is interested in modes of production, rurality, working life and class inequality. Her practice is as much about process, participation and working with communities. 

Joanne has been meeting individuals to find out more and document their story and said:
“People make places and we want to celebrate them. Community heroes are people who don’t often come forward, or even know their value in the place!

After working with fishermen in Orkney, working class women in Hull and female farmers in Northumberland for Berwick Visual Arts I’ve come to realise people often don’t know how interesting they are, or why their stories are so important and need to be told. It helps to add value to that community, space and place.”

“Seeds of Hope is a chance to celebrate after a hard year, a chance to shine a light on the people who’ve been there in the dark. It’s brilliant to be working with the Mela and having the chance to work with the community is what I enjoy the most about working as a photographer.”

The Albert Park outdoor exhibition features 10 portraits from across the community.
For up to date opening times please visit here.