Muse: the collection inspires
11/10/14As part of an MA course in Ceramics at Bath Spa University, I have exhibited a piece of conceptual work inspired by thoughts arising from a perusal of objects at Bath's Holburne museum. The exhibition, Muse, which included the work of other MA Ceramics and MA Fashion and Textiles students from Bath Spa University, ran from 11th October to 24th October 2014. Work was distributed throughout the museum, sometimes in spaces away from the main collection and sometimes within the collection itself. Ideas generated were personal responses to the museum's collection.
My own response related to one aspect of the human condition. The Holburne family used slave labour on their sugar plantations taken from Africa on board ships where the inmates were held in such inhumane conditions that up to one-third of them died en-route to the West Indies. At the same time, there is evidence in the museum relating to personal suffering, such as bereavements within the Holburne family. A letter exists with outpourings of grief at the death of a beloved son. My take on this is the observation that human beings are capable of the utmost hypocrisy without the slightest awareness of it. They are able to hold two or more completely contradictory ideas in their heads at the same time and are able to justify all of them at the same time! If we juxtapose Sir Frank Holburne's sad words with stark images of slave layouts on-board slave ships, we see the shocking truth.