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The mighty Bouche

2 August 2007 by Sam

artist sat next to installation

Benin artist Romauld Hazoume was at the Maritime Museum today to oversee the installation of his artwork La Bouche du Roi, which goes on show from Saturday as part of the museum’s year long programme of events commemorating the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade.

The picture above shows him with some of the 304 masks that make up the main body of the artwork. Each mask, made from a petrol can, represents a real person and they are arranged on the floor packed closely together to show the cramped conditions on board the ships that took enslaved Africans across the Atlantic as part of the slave trade. With film footage, the sounds the the slaves’ voices calling out and evocative smells of the tobacco and spices transported as part of the trade, this is an incredibly powerful and moving immersive experience.

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