Palaces of Shame 2021
Gold embroidery on black velvet in African Redwood frame
Our new art work: “Palaces of Shame” 2021 features the ground plans of institutions in Ghana and the UK that enabled, or benefitted from the profits of the Atlantic slave trade and the plantation economies. Top row, l to r: the notorious slave castles of Cape Coast and Elmina in Ghana; centre: Tate Gallery of British Art, Millbank; bottom row l to r: The British Museum and The British Library, The Natural History Museum and The Victoria & Albert Museum. In the UK this history has been shrouded in wilful amnesia and obfuscation for centuries. Britain benefited massively financially from this dreadful trade and poured much of the gains into it’s cultural institutions. The slave forts on the coast of Ghana demonstrate that unhindered economic opportunism seeking to extract profit no matter cost to human life is thoroughly corrupting of our values and our humanity. Whether it’s the bitter history of commodification of African people with four centuries of chattel slavery introduced by European traders in the C15, or today’s commodification of the psyche by Big Tech, we, and those who represent us politically have a duty to address these issues and foster positive, sustainable, social interactions.