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Stormzy's coming home

3rd June 2019
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Stormzy is set to come home tomorrow – when a stunning portrait of the artist and his mum arrives at Central Croydon Library on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.

The image of the chart-topping grime artist from Thornton Heath with his mother Abigail Owuo was taken by Olivia Rose, the photographer behind This is Grime, the book that charted the rise of the music phenomenon.

It has been lent to Croydon Council as part of COMING HOME, a major new initiative from the National Portrait Gallery to lend 50 portraits of iconic individuals to places across the UK with which they are most closely associated.

The exhibition will be officially opened tomorrow on Tuesday 4 June, from 2-3pm, in the Exhibition Gallery, Museum of Croydon, Croydon Clocktower, Katharine Street. It will feature an installation by Thornton Heath artist PINS, inspired by the portrait and exploring the theme of home, and will be on display until 28 September.

Olivia Rose said: "It was a real honour to see Stormzy talk at Oxford University that day, he's such a humble and brilliant guy and it was just so dreamy to see his mum get to be a part of it. I've always felt close to Stormzy and the team and it means the world to me that I've been able to document some of these special moments. We shot the portrait after lunch in a local 'ye olde' style pub and spent the afternoon with Abigail telling us stories of him as a kid."

PINs said: “Croydon...my home, Stormzy's home, our home. For us, family, self-belief, passion, and community, have enriched us both internally and externally. Using these foundations, we have shaped our paths, brick by brick.”

Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport said: “Stormzy is a local hero, not only as a talented musician, but because he is a real inspiration to so many of our young people. Croydon is incredibly proud of its rich music heritage, and as a music city we want to open up more opportunities for aspiring artists to follow in his footsteps. Residents and Stormzy fans will really enjoy seeing this stunning portrait in our local library, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to host this exhibition.”

The National Portrait Gallery has been collecting portraits of men and women who have made a significant contribution to British life and history since 1856.

With COMING HOME, the Gallery will be working with local museums, galleries and other venues to lend portraits that are special to them, providing communities across the country with the opportunity to celebrate their local heroes.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, said: “We are excited that this portrait of Stormzy and his mother, Abigail Owuo, which was recently acquired for our collection, will be shown in his hometown of Croydon this summer. We hope that sending portraits ‘home’ in this way will foster a sense of pride and create a personal connection for local communities to a bigger national story; thus helping us to fulfil our aim of being truly a national gallery for everyone, in our role as the nation’s family album.”

To find out more about the installation follow @museumofcroydon on twitter and Instagram Visit npg.org.uk to find out more about the COMING HOME project #PortraitsComingHome

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