Sunday Best: A celebration of religious diversity in the capital

Sunday Best: A celebration of religious diversity in the capital

Sunday Best: A celebration of religious diversity in the capital

Sunday Best: A celebration of religious diversity in the capital

Sunday Best: A celebration of religious diversity in the capital 1

Troubled by the rise of divisive narratives and xenophobic hate crimes, award-winning photographer Katie Waggett has spent the last three years highlighting London’s vibrant multiculturalism by capturing people in the clothes they wear to worship.

Waggett has been approaching people from many different faiths on Sundays as they leave their place of worship to create dynamic portraits that celebrate the capital’s religious diversity. For many faiths, the final day of the week holds significance and is a time for community and devotion.

Now, the work is to be published in a book called Sunday Best. “Ultimately, the series is a celebration of the plurality of voices and freedom of lifestyles that make London unique,” the photographer tells The Independent. “The project is an optimistic outlook about what it means to be British at a time when faith is more important than ever.”


Sunday Best will showcase six of the main religions – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism and Buddhism – in order to highlight the “kaleidoscopic mix of identities” in the capital.

The project began as an attempt to challenge those with a narrow definition of a “British identity”, Waggett says. “At this moment in time, growing isolationism and nationalism is a global trend. Many of these problems are rooted in ignorance – a fear of the unknown is the driving factor behind mistrust, resentment and ultimately division.”

Christianity – House of Praise, Camberwell

Multiple terror attacks in 2017 and the fallout from the Brexit vote contributed to a significant rise in hate crimes. Statistics published last year revealed that of the 103,000 incidents recorded by the police in 2018-19, three-quarters were racially motivated. Religious attacks increased by 3 per cent to 8,566.

London’s rich cultural history has been defined by immigration. From the mass arrival of Jewish migrants in 19th-century east London to the almost half a million people of the Windrush generation who arrived between 1948 and 1970, the city has been a cultural melting pot for centuries.

Of the 8.9 million people currently residing in London, an estimated 37 per cent of this total were born outside the UK. London is a place where individualism and different cultures can coexist peacefully.

It is easy to let the voices of these communities get lost in endless statistics and reports, but projects such as these put the stories back into the hands of individuals.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to stand up to those who try to divide society,” warns Waggett. “Now more than ever, it is crucial to hold onto optimism in a country whose future is constantly being redefined and reimagined against a backdrop of turbulent political debate.”

‘Sunday Best’ is available to buy now from Hoxton Mini Press


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