How two artists interpreted their shared history for one exhibition

As part of the exhibition “We Suffer to Remain” on display at the National Art Gallery and presented in collaboration with the British Council, the organization interviewed Graham Fagen and Sonia Farmer to dig deep into their artistic responses to the legacy of slavery in the Caribbean:

“….Whose story are you telling in this exhibition?

Sonia Farmer: My limited-edition artist’s book is called A True and Exact History. It is an ‘erasure’ of Richard Ligon’s 1657 guidebook, A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbadoes. Erasure is a process that uses an existing text to change a story by removing some words and leaving others exposed.

With my book, I am trying to avoid the ‘singular story’ – one story with a limited perspective that defines a place or group of people. I want to challenge what it means to write ‘a true and exact history’ of anything.

Graham Fagen: The Slave’s Lament is a re-working of the Robert Burns song of the same name, first published in 1792. My version is a five-channel audio-video work featuring the singer Ghetto Priest and musicians from the Scottish Ensemble. It is produced by Adrian Sherwood and composed by Sally Beamish.

The Slave’s Lament was Robert Burns’ only work to empathise with the hurt of displaced, trafficked and enslaved people. For me, the artwork is a way to start a conversation about the amnesia and the hypocrisy of the history of the slave trade. For Ghetto Priest, it is ‘to be the voice, to represent over 800 million souls.’…”

Read more here.

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