International Slavery Museum: Dancing in Time: The Ties That Bind Us

International Slavery Museum: Dancing in Time: The Ties That Bind Us

International Slavery Museum: Dancing in Time: The Ties That Bind Us

Venue: International Slavery Museum
Date(s): 6.4.23 - 4.5.23
Time(s): All Day

Launching on 6 April 2023, artist LR Vandy, who is represented by October Gallery in London, will create a new outdoor sculpture, which will see audiences engaging with International Slavery Museum from outside of its traditional walls.

Providing a platform for multiple voices in developing the overall vision of the Waterfront Transformation Project, this installation, named ‘Dancing in Time: The Ties That Bind Us’ will feed into plans for the overall transformation of the new International Slavery Museum, exploring storytelling, interpretation, and the wider historic waterfront. Continuing in the same spirit as the first and second pop-ups, this intervention, and the placement of the sculpture on the Canning Dock quayside, echoes Vandy’s recent studio relocation to Chatham Historic Dock Yard, working with the Ropery, a 19C building which still makes rope in the traditional way.

The rope holds both symbolic and historic importance as it was used in ancient construction, the building of Colonisation and Empire through shipping, as well as its more sinister association with slavery and captivity. Vandy uses the materiality of the rope to create abstract female figures out of twists and turns, creating a new sculpture for the International Slavery Museum.

The sculpture is hand made by sewing sections of rope and binding the ends with twine. The end form of the rope speaks to the origins of dance in hunting rituals, carnival masquerades and spirit dancers of the African diaspora, reflecting the title of ‘Dancing in Time.’ A source of inspiration for Lisa has been Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, an exploration of dance as a manifestation of the timeless human need for communal joy in Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy.

Through her work, Vandy brings together both found and made objects to create new meaning. Using beautiful, precious objects while exploring painful subjects of migration, historically through the lens of the Transatlantic slave trade, and currently the many people making desperate, treacherous boat journeys in hopes of a safer life.

This final pop-up installation is part of the International Slavery Museums’ series of activations and will be located beside the dry dock in the public realm of Liverpool’s Waterfront. The National Heritage Lottery Fund Heritage Horizon Awards has supported us throughout this series of pop-up activation, and in helping us to re-imagine our ambitions for the newly transformed museum.