I wanted to tell you more about a very exciting project we did with the artist Laura Facey. She has a new International Slavery Museum exhibition ‘Their spirits’ on the ground floor of the Maritime Museum. She was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to work with some year 9 students from Enterprise South Liverpool Academy.
We started the day with a before hours (as we open to the public at 10 am) tour of the gallery focusing particularly on the incredibly difficult journey on slaving ships from West Africa to the Americas. We then used some of the handling objects we use in 'Understanding Transatlantic Slavery' school sessions. Objects, even the replicas we use with school groups, are valuable and insightful carriers of this history.
The students were then given the chance to look at Laura’s exhibition. She explained how she became an artist and the meaning behind her work. You can listen to her talking more about her inspiration here.
Next was an opportunity to get hands on! Students firstly created portraits of each other and then of themselves. Laura was fantastic at encouraging them to explore their own individuality, I remember her saying at one point, ‘No one else in the world is like you, you are completely unique’. I think that’s an incredibly empowering message for young people to hear.
Having looked at creativity and individuality the students then worked on a group piece, based on the very restricted space each enslaved person was allocated on board ships during the ‘middle’ passage. I was so impressed at what they’d manage to achieve in such a short space of time.
We owe a massive thank you to Laura who was so heartfelt and open with us and an absolute pleasure to work with. We are really looking forward to seeing her again in July for a talk. I should also give a big thank you to our lovely cleaners, we did make quite a mess with all the charcoal but they got the floor gleaming once again!
Laura’s exhibition is here till September, perhaps half term next week would be a good chance to see it! We also have a fantastic range of family events on too including 'Discovering the Congo' on Tuesday 18 February and Beatlife drumming workshop on Thursday 20 February, see our website for more details.