Find words that have been written or spoken by someone else. Create five images that do justice to the essence of those words.
As I have mentioned many times I decided in March that all of IAP would be undertaken from a strict lockdown perspective. However, the shooting of Jacob Blake by police office Rusten Sheskey on 23 August 2020 incensed me to the extent that I needed to produce some immediate personal response.
Originally I wanted to make an image of a statue and adapt it along the lines of Karyn Olivier’s response to the Battle of Germantown Memorial in Vernon Park, Germantown, Philadelphia. However, there are no such monuments locally. Or so I ignorantly thought…
In an interview with Olivier, Paul Farber of Monument Lab defines monuments as:
A statement of power and presence in public (1).
This wider definition led me to UCL’s Centre for Legacies of British Slave-Ownership (LBS).
In a recent interview, Professor Nick Draper discussed his work as Director of LBS (2). Draper undertook the digitisation of Slave Compensation Commission records (T71 records) revealing how the effects of slavery and slave ownership permeated British society. Draper’s research reveals the extent to which slave owners received generous compensation whilst the slaves themselves received nothing. The recipients of the compensation payments are identified and in some cases the actual properties in which they lived.
This exercise identifies a few such properties within a short distance from my home in Portsmouth. The images are an attempt to contextualise the wholly unacceptable financial reality of owing slaves.
The image/text combinations equate the sale of slaves with historical country house ownership. I will return to this issue in my later studies.
Image and Text
John G. Crosbie 19 Oct 1835 201 Enslaved £3312 12s 5d
General Sir James Duff 25 Jan 1836 202 Enslaved £4101 0s 1d
John McArthur 18 Jan 1836 210 Enslaved £11265 15s 9d
James George Crabb 4 Apr 1836 159 Enslaved £3022 9s 10d
Charles Rose Ellis 13 Mar 1837 276 Enslaved £4696 13s 10d
In 1834 slavery was abolished in British colonies under the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. This Act also provided for a sum of £20 million to compensate slave proprietors. Its distribution was entrusted to a Slave Compensation Commission which began to meet in October 1833 and included representatives of the Colonial Office and the slave registry.
It worked on data collected by assistant colonial boards of compensation nominated by the governor in each colony, and compensation was allowed on slaves appearing on the books of the slave registry on 1 July 1835. Actual payment of the claims was made by the National Debt Office.(3)
(1) Olivier, K. and Farber, P., 2020. DISCOVERY EP. 6: REIMAGINING MONUMENTS. Available at: <https://knightfoundation.org/discovery-ep-6-reimagining-monuments/> [Accessed 25 August 2020].
(2) Draper, N., 2019. Nick Draper Interview. Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGekYn1r6k0&feature=youtu.be> [Accessed 26 August 2020].
(3) Discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. 2020. Office Of Registry Of Colonial Slaves And Slave Compensation Commission: Records | The National Archives. [online] Available at: <http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C13808> [Accessed 26 August 2020].