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Sam the Wheels, Witness and Filmmaker

Sam The Wheels

The Decolonising Lens

Tue 5 Oct 2021, Barbican Cinema 3

This October, Barbican Cinema, in partnership with 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, Autograph ABP, and PARC (Photography and The Archive Research Centre) UAL, celebrate archivist and filmmaker Clovis Salmon, aka Sam ‘The Wheels’ with a special presentation of his work, which is recognised as a unique archive of Brixton’s cultural heritage.

Clovis Salmon was among the first generation of migrants from the West Indies to settle in the UK, arriving in London in November 1954. Having run his own bike shop in Jamaica, he joined Holdsworth Cycles as a bike repair man, and soon became known as Sam ‘The Wheels’.

From the late 1950s Clovis Salmon, also a Pentecostal preacher, began filming everyday life in Brixton. A self-taught filmmaker, he captured church services and community events (weddings, christenings, funerals) in his neighbourhood.

The celebration on 5 October includes rare screenings of films shot by Clovis Salmon on Super 8, and digitised in 2008 by Mutiny Arts, including Somerleyton 1: The Great Conflict of Somerleyton Road (1963-64) and Somerleyton 6. Post Riots. Also, screening is the short 2019 documentary Super Sam made by Sandi Hudson-Francis. A recorded interview between

Clovis Salmon, Hudson-Francis, and Mark Sealy, director at Autograph APB will precede a Q&A with Sealy and Lucy Davies, director at 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning.

Matthew Barrington, Barbican Cinema Curator, comments:

It is really exciting to be able to showcase the work of Clovis Salmon who has developed an invaluable archive of material, documenting the lives of Brixton’s residents in doing so capturing the changing landscape of South London. Of equal importance, is to use the event as an opportunity to contextualise the work of Salmon alongside the ongoing work being done to address questions of decolonial practice”.


Somerleyton 1: The Great Conflict of Somerleyton Road (1963-64) UK 2008 Clovis Salmon, 23 min

Somerleyton 2. UK 2008 Dir Clovis Salmon, 7 min

Somerleyton 3. UK 2008 Dir Clovis Salmon, 2 min

Somerleyton 6. Post Riots UK 2008, Dir Clovis Salmon, 9 min

Super Sam, UK 2019, Dir Sandi Hudson-Francis, 44 min

This event is part of the ongoing lecture series, The Decolonising Lens, a series of five conversations featuring core PARC member Mark Sealy alongside leading academics and practitioners, exploring the decolonial as a concept and methodology for disentangling the web of dominant narratives that structure our institutions and our thought.