Empire Through the Lens
“Photography is so important to understanding colonialism.” Gus Casely-Hayford.
The power of the photography is amplified in this exhibition. My visit left me with sadness, disbelief and determination. The sadness is for the many black lives who suffered the years of slavery under the British Empires. The disbelief, well it is hard to put it into words…. Humanity does not seem to learn from pass experience. As a race, humanity sees itself as superior to other animals, however it can act and be the cruellest species on Earth.
A lot of the images exhibited, highlighted the suppression and control, the desire for power, the want for money and all this for progress? This is a very important collection of images, that remind us of the simplest of thoughts, to treat people as we expect to be treated. Respect, love and togetherness still needs to be learnt, or sustained.
The 27 selected images were picked from the Commonwealth’s 500,000 collection. The exhibition is at the Bristol Museum, 30 September 2017 – 31 August 2018. The images cover historic events such as, 1880-81 first Anglo-Boer war and second in 1899-1902, Colonial conferences, the death of Queen Victoria, World War I and II, uprisings in Kenya and more.
“The British Empire is something that happened, and its impact shouldn’t be ignored.” Dr Shawn Sobers.
Government de-oathing ceremony, Mau Mau. (Huxley, E 1953) Image selected by Dr Shawn Sobers.
Assembling a locomotive. Unknown Photographer. Image selected by Johnny Kalsi
Armistice Day 1938. (Unknown Photographer, 1938). Image selected by Prof Robert Bickers