deep blue sea

Deep Blue Sea, 197cm diameter, 2023

Through a deeply affective process, I envisioned the terror slaves must have endured during a sea storm, with thunder and lightning illuminating the waves and sky. I imagined six hundred black bodies, packed tightly together in neck rings and leg irons, lying naked on rivets that caused open wounds to fester in the sweltering heat. Equiano and Delany’s narratives provide accounts of the brutality and horror of slavery. Equiano describes the unbearable conditions aboard slave ships, where the lack of space and intense heat led to sickness and death among the enslaved. My painting aims to capture this traumatic experience and serve as a reminder of the inhumane treatment inflicted upon enslaved people. Similarly, Delany narrates the horrific fate of enslaved people, including men, women, and children, who were thrown overboard and left to drown at sea. These narratives emphasise the horrors of slavery and the pressing necessity to recognise and address its enduring consequences, which encompass racism and various other manifestations of violence.