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These essays reveal the way in which artistic responses to the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade have used, and have been used by, public memory, to communicate particular aspects and ideas regarding the 1807 commemorations.

Carrying the past into the present: Romuald Hazoumé, 'La Bouche du Roi'
Dr. Michael White (University of York)

Romuald Hazoumé's 'La Bouche du Roi', is forming a significant part of the commemoration of the 1807 Abolition Act as it tours various museums in Britain. The provocative 'La Bouche du Roi' has impressed audiences with its strong, engaging construction, which speaks of the issues of enslavement, by reworking the 1789 Brookes image of the slave ship. The piece plays upon the centrality that the slave ship has in the memory of enslavement throughout the countries involved in the Atlantic slave trade. Dr. Michael White, University of York, discusses these issues and how Hazoumé's work communicates the suffering of the 'Middle Passage', but significantly how it also expresses the fears and hopes of our own world.

'Uncomfortable Truths': the intervention of the past at the Victoria and Albert Museum
Dr. Michael White (University of York)

Michael White examines the exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum which uses the responses of contemporary artists to the issues of enslavement as means of addressing the history and legacy of slavery. Combining powerful, arresting pieces and juxtaposing these with the museum's permanent collections, the exhibition reveals an intriguing means of confrontation with a painful, traumatic past.

Bound: Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool

Providing a space in which visitors are encouraged to take a moral perspective on the issue of slavery both historical and present-day, to actively examine their own beliefs and reactions has been a significant challenge for many museums and galleries. One art exhibition which has attempted to create such a space is 'Bound', a travelling exhibition which features the work of a number of artists inspired by the issues which have arisen from the bicentenary. 'Bound' thereby examines the psychological and physical effect of slavery on the human condition in the past and the present.

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