Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

The Art of the Docklands

August 23, 2009 · 1 Comment

From the minute we moved into the “London, Sugar, and Slavery” section of the Docklands Museum I think we all knew it was going to be something different; something unlike other things we typically see when at a museum.  Being a very visual person I was immediately drawn to a video that began as we entered the area.  The film was the reading of a diary of an enslaved African (as the Dockland Museum’s terminology sign stated it would refer to slaves as).  Images of different people mouthing the words of his diary flashed across the screen along with other scenic and touristy images of London, as a man’s voice spoke it and the words of the entry scrolled along the bottom.  The letter ended with the final words, “someday I hope this will all end, and we will all be free.”  I simple wish of a man who could do nothing besides hope for the best in the future.

Keeping that video in mind I strolled through the remainder of the exhibit reading the signs and refreshing my memory of what I have learned about slavery in the past.  But when I got to the end of the exhibit I immediately stopped in my tracks.  The final wall in this area as entitled “Loss & Liberty” and featured modern ceramic artwork paired with poetry.

Loss & Liberty

Loss & Liberty

I moved through the artwork and poems slowly, taking in each one as it came.  The Caribbean rose, the faces of strained men and women, and the repetition of these images returned my thoughts to the video from the beginning of the exhibit.  The repeated modern images and the eloquent words of the enslaved African from the past, paralleled with the ceramics and the words of current men who have experienced, have heard, or are experiencing similar thoughts and feelings as the man did writing in his diary in the 1700s. At that moment the exhibit all came together for me in a world of history, art, and culture all uniting, blurring, and mixing– into one.

To read more about my time in London/UEA and to see more pictures visit: http://amandaepower.blogspot.com/

Categories: Amanda · Museums
Tagged: , ,

1 response so far ↓

  •   mliberty // Aug 24th 2009 at 11:42

    Amanda, I love your personal blog!
    It’s really great (the name and subtitle are so cute!). I especially enjoyed your thoughts on our class discussion about class vs. character. you should be more aggressive and speak up! This debate between class v s character, essentially Pip vs. Joe is very interesting and insightful.

You must log in to post a comment.