Still from film, four channel film installation with sound © Elizabeth Kwant 2019.

Still from film, four channel film installation with sound © Elizabeth Kwant 2019.

'Am I not a woman and a sister' is a new moving image installation co-created with female survivors of modern day slavery in partnership with Liverpool charity City Hearts.

The work is the culmination of a year long project researching the archives and collection of the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum Liverpool, seeking to better understand the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and it’s connections to the North West of England - Kwant’s birthplace and the place she calls home. Through her past work 'In- Transit' -where the artist embodied and retold migrants stories through site specific performances staged across the Mediterranean - Kwant became interested in the therapeutic benefits of theatre for survivors of trauma. The artist initiated a series of movement workshops in collaboration with British Barbadian Choreographer Magdalen Bartlett Luambia, giving female survivors of modern day slavery tools and agency to create their own performances. These embodied performances were shot progressively in a studio and then on location at Harewood House, built between 1759-1771 for wealthy plantation and slave owner Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood. Through objects, actions, sound, and repetitive movements, the film reflects upon colonial slavery and its ongoing legacy in modern Britain, raising questions of colonial history and human trafficking today.

The film is complimented by a specially commissioned soundtrack composed by musician Sarah Sarhandi. The project will be accompanied by a publication documenting the workshops including; a forward by acting curator of the International Slavery Museum Jean- Francois Manicom, a commissioned text by independent writer Sara Jaspan, behind the scenes photographs and transcribed conversations with the female participants.

Installation view, four channel film with sound © Elizabeth Kwant 2019.

Installation view, four channel film with sound © Elizabeth Kwant 2019.

WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO...

The women* (To protect their identity the women who participated have not been named.) Jean Francois Manicom (Acting Curator, The International Slavery Museum), Beth Piner (Health & Wellbeing Coordinator, City Hearts), Steve Watson (North West Regional Manager, City Hearts), Magdalen Bartlett Luambia (Choreographer), Lucia Ceuvas (Armadillo Productions), Fred Coker (Armadillo Productions), David Lascelles (8th Earl of Harewood), Diane Howse (Countess of Harewood), Nicola Stephenson (Exhibitions and Projects Producer, Harewood House Trust), Mark Devereux Projects (Artist’s Professional Development Mentoring), Sara Jaspan (Independent writer), Sarah Sarhandi (Musician, composer), Hannah Beatrice (Photographer), Christiana Emmanuel Onche (Voice of Mary Prince), Clare Brown (Quarry Bank Mill, The National Trust), Z-Arts Theatre, Bethan Wilson.

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. With thanks to all partners: