Dougie Wallace’s new project Banglatown focuses on the changing face of the Shoreditch/Brick Lane area of E1, the extreme dichotomy of two communities living side-by-side and the accelerating pace of vanishing way of life. This new project displays all Dougie Wallace’s trademark humour and satirical observation, however this series has a polemical aspect, which highlights an area in flux.
The image that most typifies this project, “Caravaggio’, shot on Sclater Street plays on the Biblical narrative of David and Goliath. In the few short months since taking the shot that market no longer exists. A luxury apartment complex has taken the place of the stalls full of miscellany and junk. The image shows the stark mix of and new old East End with its hipsters and urban art; the old man in his flat cap, braces and shiny trousers is oblivious to the street art. Cosmo Sarson’s art on the wall behind him takes the social commentary further with the selfie satire of Caravaggio’s "David and Goliath”. The David and Goliath theme strikes a chord in that area; old East End can’t fight the invasion of the new, high rents, big corporations and high street brands.
The series is saturated with images of the Bengali community, who gave the area it’s name, shot against the urban art that has grown to characterise the area as much as the fickle ephemera & hang outs of the hipster community.
In 2012 the Mayor of Tower Hamlets fought off a Conservative offensive to rename the area and strip it of its Bangladeshi (short lived) heritage and presumably clean up and homogenise it making it more attractive to city types looking for an apartment close to the financial district. It’s a part of London that will always be fluid and Dougie Wallace’s series narrates perfectly how all these communities converse and relate to each other.