The Windrush scandal left many living in a rootless limbo. Their plight inspired Pål Hansen to create portraits from film he had buried – in the soil they wanted to call home. Here, one year after Amber Rudd apologised for the government’s role in their treatment, they tell their stories
Towards the end of last year, Pål Hansen walked down to his local allotment, not to plant vegetables, but to bury several sheets of photographic film. Digging a hole, he carefully placed the film in the damp Hackney soil, patted it down and went home.
A few days later the Norwegian-born photographer returned to reap his unconventional harvest. Retrieving the sodden colour film from the ground, he returned to work on it in his studio. The faces that emerged through the patina of the damaged and degraded emulsion were all victims of the Windrush scandal, first reported by Guardian journalist Amelia Gentleman in 2017.