All the Produce of the Land interrogates the manufacture of guns and money, how the two are so strongly linked, particularly in Birmingham, and the role Birmingham-made guns played in the trafficking of humans from West Africa to the Caribbean.
The work features Samuel Galton Jnr’s defence of his gun making business before the Quaker Society of Friends – a self-serving excuse which unexpectedly highlighted a much wider complicity in systemic oppression throughout society. Also featured are two characters on our money – Matthew Boulton, Galton’s associate who minted money for over half the world, and Queen Nanny of the Maroons, an Ashanti woman who led a slave revolt against the British and became a Jamaican national hero.
All the Produce of the Land was originally on display at Tate Liverpool from 28th July 2018.
As well as discussing and researching the themes, values and direction of the project with Joyce, my work on this project involved creating linocut stamps of Birmingham-manufactured Farmer & Galton firearms. These were arranged around Joyce’s portrait of Boulton in the shape of the owuo atwedee, or ‘ladder of death’; an Adrinkra symbol which serves as a reminder of mortality and the importance of living a moral life.
Behind Queen Nanny of the Maroons, the adinkrahene symbolises greatness, charisma and signifies the importance of leadership.
It really benefitted my practice and craft to learn from and work alongside an established artist on this project. The next phase of SWOP SHOP involved reappropriating an object exchanged for this work.