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Black Lives Matter and more art by Alexandra Nieuwoudt

Black Lives Matter, 2021
75 x 60 x 5 cm (h x w x d)
# oil on canvas # original art #

The UK is not innocent. There is a common misconception that slavery, and subsequently, racism is an American issue. The history of British slave ownership has been buried. Britain has been far more successful at covering up its slave-owning and slave-trading past. Whereas the cotton plantations of the American south were established on the soil of the continental United States, British slavery took place 3,000 miles away in the Caribbean. That geographic distance made it possible for slavery to be largely airbrushed out of British history, following the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833. Many of us today have a more vivid image of American slavery than we have of life as it was for British-owned slaves on the plantations of the Caribbean. The word slavery is more likely to conjure up images of Alabama cotton fields and whitewashed plantation houses than images of Jamaica or Barbados in the 18th century. This is not an accident. Today, across the country, heritage plaques on Georgian townhouses describe former slave traders as “West India merchants”, while slave owners are hidden behind the equally euphemistic term “West India planter”. Thousands of biographies written in celebration of notable 17th and 18th century Britons have reduced their ownership of human beings to the footnotes, or else expunged such unpleasant details altogether. The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 formally freed 800,000 Africans who were then the legal property of Britain’s slave owners. What is less well known is that the same act contained a provision for the financial compensation of the owners of those slaves, by the British taxpayer, for the loss of their “property”. The compensation commission was the government body established to evaluate the claims of the slave owners and administer the distribution of the £20m the government had set aside to pay them off. Not only did the slaves receive nothing, under another clause of the act they were compelled to provide 45 hours of unpaid labour each week for their former masters, for a further four years after their supposed liberation



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other works by Alexandra Nieuwoudt

Imposter, 2021
84.1 x 59.4 cm (h x w)
# Charcoal on paper

Lockdown, 2021
100 x 150 cm (h x w)
# oil on canvas # original art #

Parts of Me #1, 2021
100 x 150 cm (h x w)
# Digital Photograph

Parts of Me #2, 2021
100 x 150 cm (h x w)
# Digital Photograph

Asphyxiation #2, 2021
100 x 150 cm (h x w)
# Digital Photography

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more from EALING INDEPENDENT COLLEGE

Hersi statement
100 x 150 cm (h x w)

Pejman Art statement
100 x 50 cm (h x w)

We hate Popo, 2020
40 x 50 x 1.5 cm (h x w x d)
# oil on canvas

Imposter, 2021
84.1 x 59.4 cm (h x w)
# Charcoal on paper

Alex Art statement
150 x 100 cm (h x w)

Pages

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