This is my new book
Unlike ‘Unexpected Art’ this was not a project I had planned it came into being after a stranger recognised one of my pictures as William Wilberforce. I knew who he was but not what he looked like. I then realised that a group of pictures I had done referred to 18th/19th century people who had been involved with the abolition of slavery and the research began. I do not think that I was channelling the people themselves but some other source was impressing the pictures on me. However, in time I started to channel people who had been enslaved and I could feel their feelings which varied from fear, resentment, acceptance and hopelessness.The picture on the right took me to Granville Sharp who along with William Wilberforce was so persistent in promoting abolition and on the left
the proud young lady with the pink hat came through one evening and I could feel her fear of dogs (There were my 3 dogs in the room) but it was not my dogs she feared, research showed that in Dominica, where she came from, as a punishment slaves were thrown to the wild dogs to be eaten. The impression I got was that her mother had been a slave, her father unknown probably a sailor on the ship, but she was a strong girl valuable to her owner.
I did a lot of research into the abolitionists that were given to me, most of whom I had never heard of, and also found that people were put into my path who had ancestors involved either as slaves or as owners. Much of my research revolved around people from East Anglia, the area of England where I live which added extra interest. People also gave me snippets of information such as a book about quilting done by African Americans depicting their history.
This picture took me to a gentleman called Isaiah Shembe who started his own brand of Christian worship in South Africa and is regarded as a prophet. He was not a slave but a person who did much for his followers and whose religion is followed to this day. I met a lady who has become a friend and was brought up in South Africa and has been able to tell me much about life there. This lady impressed on me that she had been hung for stealing money and trying to run away. The feeling she gave me was one of acceptance she knew what the punishment would be.
Following a tip off about a report in the New York Times I found that on June22 2018 Thomas Jefferson’s estate, Monticell0, was at last recognising the family he had with his slave Sally Hemings, and I found that I had drawn a picture of her daughter Harriet Hemings.
Through the drawings and research I was taken to many countries including the areas where people were enslaved by the Arabs and made to march many miles across deserts where thousands died yoked and manacled, ill and desolate. In fact Barbary pirates stole people from areas around Devon and Cornwall as well as completely depopulating some of the coastal towns and villages as far up as Iceland. This picture of a pirate was done in 2014 and Barbary was mentioned but at that time I had no idea why I had draw it. There have been so many pictures, too many to put into the book and I am truly grateful for all the information I was guided to, and to all the people who helped me along the way.