Posts tagged with 'slavery'
The annual poll aims to find the public’s favourite Art Funded work of the year, and to celebrate a year of helping museums and galleries acquire great art. You can help and support us by voting!
‘Am Not I a Man and a Brother’ is a significant acquisition for the Museum- and the UK.
It is the first painting in our collection to show the powerful and resonant iconography of abolition. The artwork dates from around 1800 and the artist is unknown. The foot of the canvas reads, ‘Am Not I a Man and a Brother’, a variation on the more common version, ‘Am I Not a Man and a Brother’.
The painting’s dominant motif is that of an enslaved African, kneeling, bound in chains and set against the backdrop of a Caribbean sugar plantation. This is based on a design commissioned by the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade on 5 July 1787, which is considered to be one of the first instances of a symbol designed for a political cause and was used famously by the potter Josiah Wedgwood.
It is only the second known painting to exist featuring this motif – the only other being ‘The Kneeling Slave’ at the Wilberforce House Museum in Hull.
As the abolitionist movement gained popular support, the motif was widely used for decorating men’s snuff boxes, ladies’ bracelets and hair pins, as well as household objects including milk jugs, sugar bowls and tobacco boxes.
Further enslaved people raise axes to the sugar cane in the background of the painting.
Curator Stephen Carl-Lokko, who made the acquisition, said:
“We’re so pleased to have been shortlisted for Art Fund Work of the Year 2018.
“This is a significant acquisition for the UK. While the image became an important symbol of the abolitionist movement, it also touches on the historical representation of enslaved Africans.
“Although the image was designed to appeal to the sympathies of the British public in identifying with the cause of abolition, it also reflects the misconception of enslaved Africans as passive acceptors of their fate.
“In fact the opposite was true, enslaved Africans were the main instigators in their fight for freedom, with Black abolitionists such as Olaudah Equiano, Ottobah Cugoano and Mary Prince actively campaigning as part of the British abolitionist movement.
“We address this and put this into context for our modern audience and hopefully we can start a discussion with our visitors when they see this painting about the historical representation of Black people within art.”
The acquisition was made possible through a generous grant award by the Art Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Collecting Cultures programme.
All those who vote for their favourite artwork will be entered into a free prize draw, with the chance of winning a lifetime National Art Pass worth £1,850. Vote here for your favourite in the shortlist until 5pm on Saturday 15 December 2018.
In the case under the stairs on the ground floor of the Museum of Liverpool you can see more of the objects recovered from the excavations on the site of the Museum in 2007. It’s the first chance we’ve had to show off properly some of the huge collection of sugar refining pottery that we excavated from this very site before the Museum was built . Most of it was badly broken but it is all that is left from the many small sugar refineries which existed right in the centre of Liverpool 200 years ago, long before the large factories like Tate and Lyle developed on Love Lane, now Eldonian Village. Read more…
6 August 2018 by Jeff
The Museum of Liverpool’s archaeology team have put together two new displays of pottery which may look very different but on closer inspection have interesting connections.
One is a display of ‘Cumbrian Blue(s), The Cockle Pickers’ Tea Service’ by artist, Paul Scott. Made to commemorate the Chinese cockle pickers killed in Morecombe Bay in 2004 and modern slavery, it also links to Britain’s involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
18 June 2018 by Richard
I am pleased to announce the addition of three new achievers to the Museum’s Black Achievers Wall. This popular exhibit celebrates the many different forms of achievement by people of African descent. The connection is that to reach their goals, to achieve in their field, they have in their own way broken barriers, put their heads above the parapet, taken risks, led the way. They have and do inspire.
The three new additions were nominated by Uniglobal members, a global trade union representing 20 million working people in 13 sectors of work around the world, with whom we work closely. We proudly celebrate our Black Achievers:
Bernie Grant MP, 1944-2000
Born in British Guiana (now Guyana), a trade unionist who became Leader of Haringey Council in 1985, the first Black person to hold such a role in Europe. Elected in 1987 as MP for Tottenham, he was an outspoken advocate for his community, and for righting the historic wrongs arising from colonisation and enslavement.
Gloria Mills, born 1958
One of Britain’s leading trade unionists, Gloria Mills has campaigned vigorouslyagainst all forms of discrimination. She was the first Black woman to serve as President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC). Her pioneering work on equality and employment rights has helped change the agenda, structure and culture of trade unions in the UK and beyond.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, born 1963
A past president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) North Carolina state chapter. Rev. Barber is a committed campaigner for the rights of African Americans, the poor and other marginalised groups within the US. In 2017, he launched the Poor People’s Campaign for justice, love and equality.
As part of our International Women’s Day and #Vote100 programme, our visitors worked with textiles artist Seleena Daye to create a banner celebrating inspiring female abolitionists who fought to end slavery.
In this blog, Seleena shares the processes she used to create the banner and more about the inspiring women who are featured.
“So much of what we read around slavery and the abolition of it is very male centric, so to sit down with a bunch of women of all ages and celebrate through a medium often deemed as ‘women’s work’ was a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day.
“The reasons why each participant made the piece they did were so varied, from the felt portrait of Sojourner Truth, which was made as a personal challenge to the creator as it was something she had never done and didn’t think she could do. To the embroidered portrait of the Forten Sisters, which was chosen because the creator of that piece is herself 1 of 3 sisters? The Mary Prince piece was chosen because Mary Prince came from Bermuda, like the grandparents of another attendee. Even the piece including an afro comb has a connection both to the creator and to slavery, bringing up discussions around Black hair and the heritage of hairstyles, for example around cornrows being used by enslaved women who, rarely being allowed time or opportunity to do their hair, may have desired a style that would last.
“When bringing the contributions together into a finished piece, I added imagery of other women abolitionists such as Harriet Tubman and Ellen Craft and also explored ways in which people escaped from enslavement, through the Underground Railroad, quilt codes and navigating escape using constellations. There is the quilt code included in the banner, that meant ‘follow the North Star’ and the constellation in the centre is of The Big Dipper which features the North Star.
“In the banner’s corner are some dates, ‘1865 – 2018’, making reference to the date of abolition in the United States of America, and the words ‘Keep Fighting For Freedom’ sitting next to a portrait of Malala Yousafazi, who is a modern day female activist fighting for the freedom of young girls, pointing out that POC are still not truly free. In the opposite corner sits a square with bananas and a cotton plant, things we use today, that one time were picked by the hands of enslaved people, and in some cases still picked by people who don’t have basic human rights.
“I have also included coloured hessian within the banner to represent the goods being packed into hessian sacks, to indigo and African batik inspired fabrics that are a nod to the continent enslaved people were taken from, Africa. I hand dyed the centre piece fabric which was originally a pale blue cotton. I dyed one end green and the other midnight blue, signifying the huge journey many people took, from earth to the sky. The central image of the banner is a silhouette of a woman in shackles under the slogan ‘Am I not a woman and a sister’ which is inspired by abolition imagery used by campaigners at the time, but can also be a message that rings true today.
“It was such a pleasure to be able to create something so important amongst other women who stitched and spoke of solidarity and hardships and how far we’ve come and how far we still have yet to go.
We are women and sisters.”
Our new female abolitionists banner is here at the International Slavery Museum within the Anthony Walker Education Centre.
This workshop was part of our Adult Creative Offer.
To accompany The Singh Twins’ major new exhibition Slaves of Fashion: New Works by The Singh Twins at the Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool and the University of Liverpool School of Histories, Languages and Cultures are hosting a one-day conference, open to the public to explore the issues raised by The Twins’ new artworks.
20 July 2017 by Sarah
How do you create a “choose-your-own-adventure” computer game about a hidden history that was conducted in secret, out of sight and under the cover of darkness? This task was explored by five remarkable students from Belvedere Academy as they created a series of scenarios, each with choices and consequences based upon the Underground Railroad, the code name for a network of secret routes, places and people that aided fugitives in the United States escape from Slave States to Free States.
24 November 2016 by Liz
Today we have a guest blog from Kerry Massheder-Rigby, History of Place Project Coordinator:
“For Disability History Month 2016 the History of Place project partnered with the Museum of Liverpool to launch a ‘Blind School’ trail on the Merseyside Map in History Detectives. This trail, about the history of the Royal School for the Blind, Liverpool, has been researched by volunteers as part of the History of Place Project, delivered by Accentuate. History of Place is a nationally significant social history programme which will chart disabled people’s lives from the middle ages until the late 20th century in relation to built heritage. In Liverpool the project is investigating the Royal School for the Blind, established in 1791. Read more…
5 September 2016 by Sarah
Peter Ogunsiji is an issues-based artist from Toxteth in Liverpool, who aims to create works stimulating awareness, discussion and action.
Peter is a good friend of the Museum and has sent us the below poem, inspired by his recent volunteering work with Action for Blind People to raise awareness of diabetes related vision loss – Black Asian and Minority Ethnic people are 50% more likely to develop these conditions than Europeans. The poem is called ‘IT’ . Can you guess what ‘IT’ is?
17 August 2016 by Sarah
The Museum is looking ahead to Slavery Remembrance Day on 23 August. A crucial event in the fight to end the European transatlantic slave trade happened on this date in 1791, when there was an uprising of enslaved Africans on the island of Saint Domingue (modern Haiti).
Thinking about this today, we are publishing a moving poem about slavery from Kenneth Samuels, a visitor to the Museum, who was actually born on 23 August – but 175 years after Haiti. Here is the poem with an introduction by Kenneth: