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We Found Love In The 80s - Celebrating The Untold Love Stories Of The 1980s!

A brand new photographic archive and film project celebrating the hidden love stories of couples who fell in love 40 years ago.

Acclaimed artist Dawinder Bansal is pairing up with musician Martyn Ware - founder of The Human League and Heaven 17 - to celebrate couples who found love in the 1980s.

They are looking for couples to share their stories of falling in love in the 1980s and explore how they overcame obstacles to be together. These tales will feature in a new film and online archive to be debuted in October.

At a time when romance and relationships are often presented as being as simple as a right or left swipe on a dating app, couples are being invited to share their love stories and show what it takes to find each other and stay together.

The stories will be collected together to build an online archive via Instagram and a selection of submissions will be featured in a short film by Dawinder Bansal with an accompanying soundscape created by 80s legend Martyn Ware. The film has been developed as part of Waltham Forest Council’s Virtual Culture programme and will be shared during Leytonstone Loves Film, a celebration of film produced by the Barbican in collaboration with Waltham Forest filmmakers, artists and organizations.

The project will then continue as a social media project on Instagram, sharing the love stories of couples from the 80s with fabulous vintage images.

Whether it was a school romance or a meeting on a production line, introductions by parents or a relationship that went beyond community boundaries, a slowly evolving friendship or love at first sight, We Found Love In The 80s! wants to hear your stories of the 1980s and how you fought to be together.

Bansal and Ware will in particular be hoping to find couples who overcame obstacles - whether that be racism, homophobia or class prejudice - to build their lives together.

Dawinder Bansal said:

“The 1980s was a memorable decade for so many reasons. Some of the most spectacular artists brought sensational music, film, art and fashion to people around the world. It was a decade where anything was possible. The 1980s has so much resonance to our current experiences and circumstances as a population. We had a conservative government, industries were closing and we had high unemployment, we entered a recession, racism was rife, and the world was learning about a new deadly virus. “But we still had love. People were falling in love and sometimes in secret, especially if they were gay or interracial relationships. As someone who has never found love myself, I am fascinated by stories of how people find love and stay in love.”

Martyn Ware commented:

“The chance to collaborate with Dawinder on this project is too good to miss. Our work with Illustrious is often concerned with evoking mood of a certain time and place, and we are happy that immersive 3D soundscaping will be a crucial part of this work. As an artist with Heaven 17 in the 80s, we were lucky to be a part of an iconic era for music, fashion, politics and a melting pot of multiculturalism. But it was a time of Conservative government, high unemployment and uncertainty and unfortunately, open racism.” “Art acts as a conduit for empathy and feelings of all kinds, and our music has often been seen as a significant part of many people’s emotional journeys.”

Bansal and Ware will also be asking people to submit mementos from their 80s experiences to the project.

“During lockdown, a lot of people have used their time indoors to get digging in those boxes in the attic or the cellar, or that suitcase on top of the cupboard,” said Bansal. “We know how evocative a photo of a day out, a record sleeve, a nightclub flyer or even an old magazine can be, and we’d love people to share their mementos with us.”

We Found Love In The 80s is the latest installment of Here and Now, a National Lottery funded project examining communities hopes and dreams that is running across 40 arts centres in England.

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