Eylem Binboga, born in Turkey in 1976, came to East London with her sister and brother at the age of 12 to join her parents.
Eylem Binboga was born in Kayseri in the middle of Turkey. She lived in an old Armenian house until her maternal grandmother died and the family moved to her grandfather’s farm. Eylem loved the open space. Her grandfather, a dede, performed the Alevi religious ceremonies in secret. The family experienced discrimination as they were Kurdish Alevis and Eylem’s father was not a good farmer. Eylem’s parents decided to leave for Germany and then England. Eylem remembers there was a lot of excitement around watermelons when her parents were leaving but can’t remember saying goodbye. Eylem, her older sister and younger brother, moved to live on another farm with their uncle and aunt.
After two years Eylem and her siblings joined her parents in Hackney. Eylem feels she had no choice in that decision and has few memories of the journey. The first few weeks were difficult as, after the first week, Eylem and her siblings were confined to one room in a multi-occupational house in Hackney. Her parents, who were employed in a clothing factory, had to go out to work
The family moved from Hackney to temporary housing in Walthamstow and Eylem started to attend a language centre and then Walthamstow School for Girls. When she mastered the language she thrived. She made good friends with girls from different backgrounds and participated fully in out of school activities such as sports, sailing and drama. School in the UK was far better for Eylem than school in Turkey as it encouraged her interest in sport and art.
Eylem went to Epping Forest College and then to Brighton to study three dimensional craft and design. Here she met her English partner. She went onto the Royal Academy of Art and is a jeweller. She also runs the tearoom, Brew for Two on Morning Lane and the open-air café in St John’s churchyard.