Femi: Egyptian for Love … Southbank Skatepark

It’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged on here as I’ve been fully integrating into my new life in London, settling into and blogging daily for work, in an exciting job in marketing and communications at Chelsea College of Arts, part of University of Arts London (UAL). I have an extensive body of work from my travels and early days in London, which I haven’t blogged but recently showed some of it in a staff exhibition at Chelsea. I felt a sense of achievement from a professional hang such as this. Anyhow…there will be more posting in the near future hopefully now that I am more settled…living in the awesome neighbourhood of Brixton

Today I was in town to see a few exhibitions with a friend. I wandered by the River Thames past the colourful South Bank Skatepark which has been threatened with closure recently by the development of a commercial development. The Long Live Southbank (LLSB) campaign was created and has had support from everyone from Thom Yorke from Radiohead to Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, who The Guardian explains has halted the £120m development plan by saying that the skatepark should be left in place.

As we arrived to spectate the skaters entertain, I spotted a real character, who I asked if I could make his portrait. He said a number of people had asked and he’d said no to them…but for some reason I got a yes!


Originally born in Manchester but now living in London, he is called Femi, which after research I see is a unisex name of African origin, meaning “Love Me” or “Love” in Egyptian.


The Colour of Love and the upcoming Valentine’s Day of course is often seen as red, which Femi is currently sporting in his very own way. It’s also the colour of the famous Manchester United football team coincidentally…always a great colour on these crisp days…crimson against the grey of London’s current climate. London is full of fabulous characters to photograph so I hope you enjoy Femi.

©gavinfreeborn (2)

6 thoughts on “Femi: Egyptian for Love … Southbank Skatepark

  1. This is taken from a magazine that documents skateboarding, I’m not sure if this is 100% accurate but I just thought it would be interesting for you to read – “In Swahili, Femi means “dive” and Bukunola means “bomb”.”

  2. I cannot believe my eyes! Femi is a long lost friend of mine from skateboard days of the 90s when he was living in San Francisco. He was like a brother to me. If there is any way to reach him… Please tell him Sarah and Beverly Hayon send their love! I’m so happy to know he is alive and the dapper don I always knew him to be!

    • Hey Sarah – Great to let you know earlier this year that your long lost friend Femi is alive and well. He was a wonderful chap to make a portrait of and highlight the cause on Southbank. I haven’t seen him since but the next time I do I will give him your love for sure! Keep in touch on my blog as you never know who else I might re-introduce you too. One day I’ll bring my project to San Francisco and it would be great to make a portrait of you and Berverly if you like?

    • Hi Sarah.. I’ve spent some time with Femi over the years. I’ve not seen him for several years now but if you get in touch with me I’m happy to expand on that! I don’t wish to post all sorts of information on a public forum.

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