Mayflower Residency: Wampanoag Power

I’m very pleased to be commencing a residency at Southwark Park Galleries in 2 weeks time. I’ve been invited to create a work in response to the legacy and false histories surrounding the Mayflower, made in Rotherhithe, which set sail for the ‘new world’ 401 years ago.

The narrative of the Pilgrim’s arrival & settlement from Plymouth, UK to the United States is a largely farcical historical retelling, that omits the enslavement and brutality inflicted upon the native Wampanoag population in Massachusetts. Through the lens of racial empowerment, I will create an artwork that dispels the neatly repackaged revisionist history of this time.

There are clear parallels with the transatlantic slave trade and the Pilgrim colonisers & slavers. Informed by my Sierra Leonean heritage and culture, the similarities in these histories will enable me to pragmatically approach the selection of antique texts that I will use, as well as the overall composition of the work. This will lead to a detailed ballpoint pen portrait focused on the empowerment of the marginalised. Using motifs inspired by traditional Wampanoag culture I will produce an artwork that celebrates the Native Americans that have had a significant part of their history mythologised to suit their oppressors.