‘Drink My Sweat’: Leytonstone’s outdoor photography exhibition

Local photographer Jake Green has documented the people and processes of coffee production in 10 outdoor works

On an extremely sunny morning this week we took our smartphone and snapped some of the images from (according to the blurb) E11’s first “large scale outdoor photography exhibition.”

On display from the railway arches by Leytonstone High Road right up to Matalan, Drink My Sweat documents the people and processes that go into coffee production in three coffee-producing regions across the world.

Drink My Sweat
The start: Leytonstone High Road arches. Photo: Stephen Emms

We’re happy to see the town centre transformed into an outdoor gallery. And it’s easy to follow the trail of photographs taken by local photographer, Jake Green, an obsessive coffee drinker who set out on a personal mission “to trace and document the journey of coffee – a commodity we love as a nation, but cannot produce here,” he says.

The exhibition title is translated from the Swahili expression Kunywa Jasho Langu and can be interpreted as an invitation to enjoy the produce that is the result of hard work. Sweat, indeed.

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Drink My Sweat
Ferndale Road. Photo: SE

As you can see, the series of pictures features on the sides of local businesses, billboards, houses and embedded in shop window displays.

The exhibition comes with stories too, which humanise the process and illustrate the amount of work that goes into growing, harvesting and exporting coffee from farms in Kenya (Nyeri), Colombia (Huila) and Honduras (Pozo Negro).

One of the priorities for the Council’s Area Regeneration team has been to activate and animate town centres, to help draw people in and encourage them to spend their money locally to support our businesses.

It’s hoped the exhibition will help put Leytonstone Town Centre more prominently on the London map, bring more visitors to the High Road, and act as a pilot to hopefully secure more funding to host future outdoor exhibitions in Leytonstone.

drink my sweat
Leytonstone High Road station. Photo: SE

All large format pictures were printed onto self-adhesive aluminium or blue backed billboard paper to ensure they can be recycled or reused after the exhibition.

“Environmental impact has been considered at every step of the project,” he says.

The exhibition is due to run until 9 September 2022. For more information including the full trail, stories behind each photo and images themselves, see the website.

Main image: Farmer Francisco Valequez by Jake Green

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