Sunday, November 29, 2009
Between September and December 2009, four children have been producing an unusual product as the result of their studies: a museum exhibit entitled Banish Modern Slavery!
We invite you to attend the free opening of Banish Modern Slavery! in January 2010. The exhibit will feature the interpretations of these four children, who participated in a ten-week class covering exhibition design and the study of both modern and historical slavery. From an installation referencing the Department of Labor’s recent release of a list of goods potentially tainted by slave labor to original artwork, the exhibit speaks to the unfortunate continuum of international slavery.
During the opening reception, visitors will have an opportunity to meet and speak with the child curators, experience the exhibit, stroll through the larger museum (which features the exhibit Slavery: The Great and Foul Stain) and participate in activities centering on raising awareness about modern slavery (films, handicrafts, a lecture and more).
For further information, please call 914-965-4027 or visit our event information website, philipsemanorhall.blogspot.com.
This exhibit was made possible by a partnership between Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site, a museum and historic house in downtown Yonkers, and the Adventure Center: Journeys of Wonder, Inc., an educational enrichment program. Philipse Manor Hall, the setting for the exhibit, was once owned by the Philipse Family, who were slave owners and slave traders in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Monday, November 9, 2009
November 6 - We laid out the place of each exhibit and mainly completed one exhibit. While the gallery doesn't look markedly different, it is now in an anticipatory phase and will shortly be filled with completed work in anticipation of our opening on January 3, 2010.
Q: Why did you stop watching the video?
A: It was very upsetting to see. It made me angry. It made me feel so sad that I just couldn't watch it.
Q: What were the parts that had this impact on you?
A: In the video slaves were being beaten. I couldn't watch that happening.
Q: How were they beaten?
A: I don't want to explain it, how they were treated.
Q: Were the slaves freed in the video?
A: When the slaves were working they were very sad. I could tell by the expression on their faces. It was of pain and it was painful to look at their faces.
Q: You are now working on an exhibit to represent the continuum of slavery from the past to the present. Is that painful for you?
A: No, this feels good because what we are doing will help free people all over the world.
Q: Did you know that your work would have that impact when you began this project at Philipse Manor Hall?
Q: When did you know that?
A: The first day.
Q: Before this group and project, did you wonder about slavery?
A: I understand about it because I know that even people we see in this world, walking by us on the street every day could have been slaves.
(Tamar's awareness came from our, really my, relationship with Lucy, a woman who worked for my family as a house cleaner when I was growing up. Tamar met Lucy once and learned how my mother found her sleeping on a park bench, newly arrived from Africa. Lucy became a part of our family when I was growing up in a variety of ways and has, over time, brought 23 members of her family here from Africa.)
Q: Who do you think we see who may have been slaves?
A: I know some people seem to consider themselves higher standards than other people we see. We see people who have to fight for themselves to be on such standards. It seems like many years ago but they are always trying to catch up and get to their dreams.
Tamar stated "I am out of energy. Let's stop."
Friday, October 23, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
We wrote on the walls.
We covered our entire empty gallery in butcher paper. We looked at it blank, it's dimensions, it's possibilities. And then, we decided to ask ourselves questions and make statements, too. We put all of this on the walls, writing in crayons of different colors. "How is an exhibit built?" "Are children slaves?" and "I'm excited to find out what our exhibit will look like" were the kinds of things we expressed. Here's a detail from the walls:
What do you think an exhibit is? How would you talk about slavery in an exhibit? This is what we've had on our minds.
We're here to tell you the story of how we produced an exhibit. Our exhibit. But, it's for you, too. And, it's about something important.
We are three students, one museum person, and a small host of supportive parents.
Our objective is to learn about, and then communicate about in exhibit form, the phenomenon of slavery. But not slavery that went extinct in the modern mind in the 19th-century: we want to highlight the fact that slavery is going on today. Right now, in 2009. As we speak, as we eat, as we sleep. The slavery you can still find in the threads of our clothes, the packages of food we consume, and in the books we don't read in school.
We'll be posting pictures, talking about our process, and sharing things about ourselves along the way. When we're done, we'll host an opening. You're invited, of course!
We're on our way, and thanks for following along. You could build an exhibit too. Anyone can. Whether you have museum walls or not.