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FACE-OFF

2007

inkjet print on foam-board, concertina mounted (8 faces double-sided)
80cm x 150cm (x 20cm deep)

Commissioned and exhibited by The Group, a collective of Bristol artists responding to the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. First exhibited at the Grant Bradley Gallery, Bedminster, Bristol; now held in the collection of Bible Society, Swindon.

Images used: Portrait of John Baker Holroyd, 1st Earl of Sheffield (stipple engraving after John Jones / Sir Joshua Reynolds), 1789; Portrait of William Wilberforce (stipple engraving after J. Davies), 1792. Licensed by National Portrait Gallery, London.

Between 1788 and 1791, two opposing figures stood up in Parliament as the bill for the abolition of the slave trade was first debated.  William Wilberforce found himself leading the campaign for abolition, speaking for hours at a time on the inhumanity, deception, and mortality rates endemical to the slave trade.  In opposition, Lord Sheffield (John Baker Holroyd) voiced his defence of the slave trade with reference to the rights of the plantation owners over their property, ie. slaves – at all costs, the sanctity of ownership should be preserved within the arms of an enlightened Empire. 

Notebook Spotlight: 8 July 2012

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