Diaon, Tranquillity Corner Café (South Drawood exhibition)
- Year Invented: 2018
Only a five minute walk from Norwood Country Park is the Tranquillity Corner Café, owned by Diaon Wright. Diaon takes pride in being the only coffee shop in the locality on Portland Road. Diaon is a teacher by background but found her profession changing over the years and decided to leave to become a private tutor. However, when the opportunity arose, she decided to open her own business with her current shop was previously owned by a niece of one of her friends. Rather than changing the business completely she has put her own spin on it. Customers are indulged by her and the menu has been adapted to give more variety to the area.
Diaon only opened her business a week before the first COVID-19 lockdown but managed to pull through selling takeaways. She notes that home workers would come and get their lunches from her and this continued throughout the pandemic. The friendly faces she sees make her day and she says that seeing dads taking out their children are her favourite clientele.
For Diaon, giving back to the community is as important as receiving. She says she would love to see more support for business owners to be able to develop their businesses. She notes that Portland Road could do with a bit of love and care, saying the council should provide better lighting and more cleaning which would make the area more appealing for everybody. However, Diaon notes that residents in South Norwood are lucky by many of the facilities they have available to them, such as Stanley Arts and so many other amazing local businesses such as the others you see represented in the South Drawood exhibition.
Words by Elizabeth Walters
Interview with Diaon, Owner of the Tranquillity Corner Café, January 2022
Tranquillity Corner Café
128 Portland Road, London, SE25 4PL
This project was part of the South Drawood exhibition in 2022 by artist Jonny Kemp. A community art project celebrating the people of South Norwood, SE25.
From autumn of 2021 to summer 2022, Jonny drew 40 portraits of independent business owners, volunteers, and other movers and shakers from South Norwood, his local area. His partner Lizzie interviewed them.
South Norwood is regenerating yet doesn’t want to gentrify: it wants to keep its character and support people who already live in the area to prosper. This was Jonny and Lizzie’s way of ‘giving South Norwood a hug’: by representing the diverse people of SE25 through portraits in fine liner pen, and their own stories.
The portraits were displayed in Stanley Arts, a beautiful Edwardian arts venue on South Norwood Hill. Over 150 people attended the opening night: Friday 29th July 2022.