Artist Statement - Anna-Marie Veloz, Art Faculty, VVC
As an art instructor, I was influenced by the vivid descriptions of place, in Washington Black. I chose to depict some of the sites Wash traveled to including, Amsterdam, the beach of Nova Scotia, the Morocco desert and lastly the Sugarcane Plantation in Barbados.
Bussa Slave Revolt, 1816, Barbados
Artist’s Statement - Theresa D Polley-Shellcroft, Art Faculty, VVC
As an art history instructor, I see art within its historical, cultural context. My three works of art for this event and as they relate to the book about Washington Black’s search for freedom, I needed to know the historical background and context.
The slave revolt events on Barbados as well as the main character, Wash, recall my family history. In 1850, my great, great, grandfather, Harrison Polly (Polley) , along with 8 siblings, were kidnapped from Ohio and sold into slavery in Kentucky and Virginia (now West Virginia). At that time, he was nine years old. His father, Peyton Polly (Polley), my great, great, great, grandfather, filed a lawsuit in the State of Ohio, backed by the governor and prominent abolitionists, to retrieve the children. Fast forward, 2012, our family, with the leadership of my cousin, James Hale, reopened the unsettled case from 1854. It was then ruled that at the time of their kidnapping, Harrison Polly and all siblings were free persons. Not runaways as was claimed in 1850 by the slave catchers.
Freedom is the common thread. How is Freedom defined and understood? Obtained?
I elected to focus on the enslaved person’s revolt of 1816 on several Barbados sugarcane plantations. In the three art works, I chose to give voice and to honor those millions of enslaved persons, who were kidnapped and/or sold into slavery, by acknowledging their struggle for Freedom. Too often, these stories are overlooked in history.
Last Updated 9/9/20