Messages, Medals and Memorials Deeds Not Words

To Do Justly, To Show Mercy


The Interesting Visual Narrative Life Of Olaudah Equiano

9th July to 15th September 2007

Opening Times -

9th to 22nd July 2007: Mon-Fri 10-9pm, Sat: 10-4pm 23rd July to 31st August 2007: Mon-Fri: 10-5pm, 3rd to 15th September 2007: Mon-Fri 10-9pm, Sat: 10-4pm

This outdoor public art exhibition organised by the Morley Sculpture Society in the secluded and contemplative Circular Green near Morley Gallery, behind the Nancy Seear Building, pays tribute to all those who had a stake in the abolition of the Slave Trade as part of Abolition 2007. This exhibition acknowledges the victims of the slave trade, the ordinary people who campaigned for change, and the abolitionists themselves, particularly those black abolitionists such as Olaudah Equiano, who deserve a prominent place in history.

An extraordinary life is celebrated on the 8 trees in the Circular Green - visual representations of chapters of his famous autobiography, written in 1789, by Olaudah Equiano (c.1745-1797) himself. Entitled The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1789), a strongly abolitionist autobiography, the book became a bestseller, furthering the anti-slavery cause. Each of the 8 trees inspired 8 artists to tell another chapter of his remarkable story from being sold into slavery in childhood, to being a slave to a Royal Navy captain and later a Quaker merchant, to eventually buying his own freedom through careful trading and saving. He travelled the world, including the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Atlantic and the Arctic, before settling in London, involving himself in the movement to abolish the Slave Trade. Following 3 stages of Olaudah Equianos life from 1745-1757 into slavery, as a slave from 1757-1766, and as a free man and abolitionist from 1766-1797. This exhibition is a visual social history accessible to all ages.

Participating artists -

Sumi Perera, Jolanta Jagiello, Joseph Silcott, Kate Hammersley, Jill Rock, Christy Symington, Myree Tydings and Cheryl James.

Organised by Morley Sculpture Society, curated by Jolanta Jagiello in association with Morley College.

abolition/tree1.jpgTree 1: Life in Nigeria
by Sumi Perera
Artist Statement
abolition/tree2.jpgTree 2: Middle Passage
by Jolanta Jagiello
Artist Statement
abolition/tree3.jpgTree 3: Arriving in the West Indies
by Joseph Silcott
Artist Statement
abolition/tree4.jpgTree 4: Seafaring Life
by Kate Hammersley
Artist Statement
abolition/tree5.jpgTree 5: Sold to Dr Robert King
by Jill Rock
Artist Statement
abolition/tree6.jpgTree 6: A Free Man
by Christy Symington
Artist Statement
abolition/tree7.jpgTree 7: Christain and Abolitionalist
by Myree Tydings
Artist Statement
abolition/tree8.jpgTree 8: Wealth and Marriage
by Cheryl James
Artist Statement