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Afro Supa Hero opens at the International Slavery Museum today. Here, award-winning creative director, Jon Daniel, whose personal collection of comics, action figures and games are displayed, tells us about the inspiration for the exhibition and what he hopes you will take away from your visit:
"The advent of my Afro Supa® Hero exhibition, launching this Friday 13th on LightNight represents an exciting and very important milestone in my journey so far.
"I was born in London in 1966, the same year that Barbados became an independent nation. This year, Barbados celebrates 50 years of independence. It is an anniversary that has strong personal ties for me, and my sense of identity.
"Through my father, Horace Nicholson Daniel (1930-2014), I have dual nationality and citizenship of Barbados. My earliest memory is actually of Barbados and Grenada where I was taken on holiday as a young child, as I was fortunate to have parents who saw the importance of connecting us with our family overseas. In fact, large family reunions were arranged on a regular basis in either the United States or Barbados. However, it was on that first trip back to the Caribbean that I first met my older brother, Tony.
"More poignantly, these historic links to Barbados are also found here in Liverpool. The Liverpool Merchant was the first recorded slave ship to sail from Liverpool to Barbados arriving on 18 September 1700 with a cargo of 220 enslaved Africans. More than 500 Liverpool slave ships had undertaken this journey by the time the British transatlantic slave trade was abolished in 1807. It is in testament to this historical fact that the International Slavery Museum stands here today.
"From the moment it became a reality that my exhibition would come to Liverpool, I have been deeply humbled by how everyone has embraced my Afro Supa Hero project.
"Like the blazing sun in Barbados, you cannot help but be captivated by the warmth of the people of Liverpool, a city that has raised so many personal Afro Supa Heroes of my own such as the amazing and charismatic former World Light Heavyweight boxing champion, John Conteh; the beautiful and talented actress, Cathy Tyson; and the pioneering and chart-topping soul and funk band, The Real Thing to name just a few.
"I hope that you will find my exhibition insightful, entertaining and inspiring. I hope it brings to your attention elements of African diaspora history and popular culture that you may previously have been unaware of - whether it be the discovery of real life super heroes such as abolitionist, Harriet Tubman and polar explorer, Matthew Henson as found in my Golden Legacy collection of comics. Or fictional characters such as Marvel’s Brother Voodoo and DC’s Nubia, Wonder Woman’s adversary and estranged twin sister.
"I hope it does justice to the vibrant and dynamic lifeblood of this truly super city."
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