The Migration Museum in Lewisham on Monday (7) received a donation from an Indian entrepreneur to support its ongoing work and help fund costs for exhibitions, a statement said.
Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia donated £25,000 to the facility and urged the Indian diaspora to back the Museum. He has been appointed as the Museum’s Patron of India.
The Museum is Britain’s first museum dedicated to exploring how the movement of people to and from the UK shaped the country across the ages.
Started in 2020, it was at the heart of Lewisham Shopping Centre in south-east London, where it stages exhibitions, events, and educational sessions.
It has temporarily closed to visitors while installing its new exhibition, Taking Care of Business, which will start on 6 April. It will highlight the role that entrepreneurs have played in shaping Britain through personal stories, art installations, and a concept shop that features migrant-led businesses, the statement added.
“The Migration Museum and the team play a hugely important role in the UK. Britain’s migration history is at the heart of our national story, and the Museum is doing important work to tell this story in a positive way,” said Ahluwalia.
“As I start to think about the next phase of my life in India, I have been struck by the importance of migrants telling their own stories in their own words. It is essential that these stories have a permanent long-term home.”
The Museum reopened in May 2021 following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. Its attractions include Humanæ, a photography project about skin colour and race, and Between here and there, an art exhibition that told the stories of migrant people in transit. It was also home to WALL, an art installation by contemporary artists STIK and Thierry Noir painted on two rare surviving sections of the Berlin Wall.
Ahluwalia arrived in the UK as a refugee in 1972 from Uganda. He was the founder of Euro Car Parts, Europe’s largest car parts distributor, before going on to found UK property developer Dominvs Group. Now, he is in the process of returning to India.
Sophie Henderson, director of the Migration Museum, said: “We are thrilled to feature Sukhpal’s story alongside other inspiring stories from entrepreneurs with migrant heritage in our next exhibition, Taking Care of Business, opening in April. If you believe that migration belongs at the heart of our national story and cultural landscape, come and visit us, explore more stories like Sukhpal’s and share yours, and help us to realise our vision for a permanent Migration Museum for Britain.”