The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Monday, June 21, 2021


The empire writes back: tackling Britain's colonial past
British author Sathnam Sanghera poses for a photograph in Hampstead, north London on January 25, 2021. The statue of Robert Clive outside the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in central London depicts him with an imperious gaze, his hand gripping the hilt of a sheathed sword. But despite often heated debate about monuments to colonial figures with links to the slave trade and the legacy of Britain's past, "Clive of India" remains in place. For the British author Sathnam Sanghera, just seeing the monument to the controversial 18th century general who profited massively from the exploitation of India and Indians is "degrading". TOLGA AKMEN / AFP.

by Callum Paton



LONDON (AFP).- The statue of Robert Clive outside the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in central London depicts him with an imperious gaze, his hand gripping the hilt of a sheathed sword.

But despite often heated debate about monuments to colonial figures with links to the slave trade and the legacy of Britain's past, "Clive of India" remains in place.

For the British author Sathnam Sanghera, just seeing the monument to the controversial 18th century general who profited massively from the exploitation of India and Indians is "degrading".

"I wouldn't mourn the toppling of that Clive statue, which was considered controversial when it was put up," Sanghera told AFP.

Sanghera's new book, "Empireland", published Thursday, explores Britain's uneasy relationship with its past, which was thrown into sharp relief by the Black Lives Matter protests last year.

Those protests saw one such statue, of the 17th century slave trader Edward Colston, toppled, and thrown into Bristol harbour.

Sanghera said he did not advocate similar action against the memorial to Clive but he does believe the time is now right to better contextualise Britain's past.

Erasure

Built up from the 16th to 19th century, the British Empire was the biggest in history, and at its height covered almost a quarter of the world's population, making Britain the global superpower.

Yet the failure to adequately teach it in schools is "really dysfunctional", said Sanghera.

He said he had been particularly affected as a young Sikh growing up in central England by the erasure of contributions by Indian troops during World War One.

But he added: "This has been a consistent thing, throughout the 20th century, to delete the contribution of people of colour.

"And it continues making our conversations about race, really, really dishonest."

"Empireland" interrogates Britain's relationship with the slave trade and argues its decision to abolish the practice has since overshadowed its long participation.

"The British profited from slavery for many decades, brutalised and exploited millions, paid compensation of £20 million to former slave owners while offering the slaves nothing," he writes in the book.

"The moment Britain abolished it, abolition became the main narrative."

Sidelined

The BLM protests -- and the coronavirus lockdown which has forced parents to take on homeschooling duties -- have also spurred others into action.




Oriana Gowie, who has two sons aged two and six, launched tuntimo.com from her home in London to give parents an online resource to teach Black history to children.

"Our children are overhearing us talking about what's happening and hearing that Black lives matter," she said.

"I just thought, 'wouldn't it be great if there was a resource where parents could sit down with their children, and talk about achievements of Black people all over the world?'"

Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson, a co-founder of Impact of Omission, which is campaigning for the inclusion of colonial history in the core curriculum, took more direct action.

Just a year before the BLM protests, she was sitting her end-of-school exams and was "shocked" by the way slavery and the British Empire were sidelined.

"We did a module on industrialisation. And the whole way through it was just never mentioned," said Jikiemi-Pearson, 20, who is now a student at Exeter University in southwest England.

Lessons focused on how cotton was spun in British factories after the 18th century "but not where the cotton had come from" -- slave plantations in the Americas -- she said.

A petition launched by Impact of Omission to have the inclusion of colonial history in the curriculum debated in British parliament received over 286,000 signatures and in November, Jikiemi-Pearson presented it to two parliamentary committees.

'Balance sheet'

As calls to re-evaluate Britain and its empire have grown, so too has the pushback against it.

The targeting of a central London statue of World War II leader Winston Churchill during the protests drew particular criticism, including from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Protesters defaced the Churchill statue with the word "racist", and accused him of being responsible for policies that led to the death of millions during famine in India in 1943.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said this month it was "absurd" and "shameful" Churchill's statue had been targeted.

He said there had been an attempt to "impose a single, often negative narrative which not so much recalls our national story, as seeks to erase part of it".

Sanghera said trying to cast Britain's colonial legacy in either a wholly negative or positive light was impossible but a better understanding was needed.

"You can't have a balance sheet view of 500 years of history," he said.

"I don't think any other country in the world has this, where you're urged to have a good or bad view of 500 years ago."


© Agence France-Presse










Today's News

January 29, 2021

A Botticelli portrait sells for $92 million at Sotheby's auction

Finally in 3D: A dinosaur's all-purpose orifice

Monolith mania comes to Chelsea

The Met receives extraordinary gift of Georg Baselitz paintings

Phillips announces private Italian collection 'Out of the Blue: Works from The Collection of Enea Righi'

Cutting-edge Carmen Herrera offered at Bonhams Prints & Multiples sale

Cowan's to present first dedicated various owner African Americana sale

Polish Jews 'outraged' over Holocaust items smuggled to Israel

Archaeologists discover spot in Alaska where Indigenous fort once stood

Amid Epstein revelations, Leon Black remains Chairman of MoMA

The empire writes back: tackling Britain's colonial past

Egypt says retrieves 5,000 artefacts from US

The gloopy glory of Frank Auerbach's portraits

Harvard University acquires portrait of Amanda Gorman for the permanent collection

Auschwitz child victims honoured 76 years on

French roosters now crow with the law behind them

National Gallery of Art announces new staff appointed to key positions across the museum

Almine Rech opens an exhibition of new works by the artist Alejandro Cardenas

Danish author Sara Omar: Breaking taboos for Muslim women

Aga Khan Museum launches This Being Human podcast

Gunnel Lindblom, familiar face in Bergman films, dies at 89

Christopher Little, who built an empire around a boy wizard, dies at 79

Cloris Leachman, Oscar winner and tv comedy star, dies at 94

Pandemic delays Cannes Film Festival until July

Master Online Betting Through 24 Sbobet

The Visible Websites Of Baccarat Gaming On The Digital Section

สล็อต ufabet (ufabet slot)

High-quality Art Book Printing Skills with Guarantee Brilliant Quality Feedback

Benefits of Online Classes During Lockdown

Tongkat Ali Powder Shown to Help You Build Muscle & Burn Fat

BASIC TIPS FOR YOUR KEYBOARD APPLICATION




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit
ONLINE CASINO MAGAZINE

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful