A few weekends ago, HB and I had a little sojourn in Bristol and whilst there came across the Lubaina Himid exhibition showing at Spike Island.

Naming The Money is an installation of 100 life-sized wooden cutout figures representing Africans brought to Europe as servants.

My name is Ahmed
They call me Henry
I used to play the music of my people
Now I play to forget them
But I love the notes

Historically these slaves were given new names and roles and Himid attached their printed stories on the back of each figure.

My name is Zody
They call me Jenny
I used to grind herbs into powder
Now I blend fine tea for the ladies
But I am the best

I found this to be one of the most touching things – both sadness at their loss and humiliation but humbled by the positivity too.

My name is Essian
They call me Dan
I used to lead the army
Now I play for children
But I love their laughter

The fact that these were freestanding and you could walk among them was very effecting and their life-size-ness really made me connect with them as the real people they represented.

Himid was originally a set designer and wanted this exhibition to bring slaves out of the shadows and corners of traditional portrait painting and give them center stage.

My name is Emmi
They call me Jenny
I used to make potions and keep them in a jar
Now I help to make jam
They say it tastes good

And on a superficial note, I also enjoyed all the colours and patterning. Simply done but very moving.

My name is Akron
They call me Henry
I used to play at weddings
Now I play at funerals
But I have the memory

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