Jamaican sculptor Laura Facey will launch the first of its kind, an interactive digital iArtBook, using video, audio and text (the latter by renowned art critic Edward Lucie Smith) in July at The International Slavery Museum (ISM), National Museums Liverpool, England.
The iArtBook, Radiant Earth, brings together sculpture featured in the Their Spirits exhibition, currently showing ISM, Liverpool and work completed in the last decade. This virtual book gives unique insight into her artistic practice. Lucie-Smith, along with Facey, will give a talk at the time of the launch.
Facey’s seminal 2006 work Their Spirits Gone Before Them is the centre piece of the Their Spirits exhibit.
‘Their Spirits’ has been endorsed by Jamaica’s Ministry of Culture as being “among the world’s most celebrated works of art that encapsulate and embody the spirit and memory of our ancestors…” and has been granted the use of UNESCO’s “Project supported by the UNESCO Slave Route Project” logo as a work which “contributes to the reflection on the ethical dimension of the transatlantic slave trade and slavery”.
Dr Richard Benjamin, head of the International Slavery Museum, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be able to bring this stunning and iconic work to Liverpool. It is a major coup for the museum to be able to display Laura Facey’s remarkable work which will have a strong impact on our visitors.” He added: “It’s also significant that ‘Their Spirits’ is going on show in Liverpool – a city central to transatlantic slavery.”
The Their Spirits Gone Before Them sculpture, which explores the indescribable cruelty of slavery as well as the resilient, transcendent and reverent nature of the human spirit, is a cottonwood canoe, floating on a wave of sugar cane. Inside the canoe are 1,357 resin miniatures of Redemption Song, a monument which stands at the ceremonial entrance to Emancipation Park in Kingston, Jamaica.
In 2011, the sculpture embarked on an ambitious journey leaving the World Bank’s Washington, DC headquarters and after travelling across the Atlantic for a brief stay at the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London, the canoe will remain at ISM, Liverpool through to September 2014.
The intention is for the canoe to retrace the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Route and make stops at the major ports involved and others where the installation can be used as a starting point for wider discussion and activities relating to slavery — with the main aim being reconciliation and aiding the release of negative patterns and pain wrought by slavery.
Radiant Earth will be available on iBooks on the July 19, 2014.