Alice Zoo’s series Skaters documents an unusual moment in time, in a London park. “During the first coronavirus lockdown, all the parks were empty and the mood was not good; so much uncertainty and fear was in the air,” says Zoo. “As a result, it felt almost unbelievable in May 2020, on the first really hot day, when Hyde Park was suddenly full of roller skaters – people zipping along the edge of the Serpentine, eating ice creams, stretching out on the grass, playing music. It seemed like a different world – it was such a relief.
“In fact, lockdown in London, combined with an unusually hot summer, led to a boom in the skating community. With offices closed, staff on furlough, and organised sports one of the only sanctioned reasons to meet up with others, young people from all over the city began to organise. Some had been skating for years, while others were new to the sport and attended meet-ups alone, soon to make friends with other skaters who were invested in building the community, sharing skills and helping one another,” continues Zoo.
“Hyde Park and Clapham Common were full of music and the rush of wheels on hot tarmac. Viral videos of skaters dancing spread on TikTok and Instagram, and these apps were used to build a community. This work portrays the individuals who participate in a scene that has gone from strength to strength since spring 2020 – a rare note of optimism at a time when togetherness has felt hard to come by.”