Am I not (Bibs Series)
9”x10”x2” approx. each bib & hanger
2019 – On Going
Collaboration with Stephen Paul Day
Special Thanks North Lands Creative AiR Residency
Am I Not is a collaborative mixed-media installation made up of embroidered baby bibs replicated out of glass (frit de verre). The text embroidered on each bib reads, “Am I not your brother? Am I not your sister?” Ten of the bibs are marked with red detail, and ten are marked with white, each of the colours emerging through the high points of the embroidered surface texture. Both white and red representations of the glass bibs are rendered in gender specific texts. Each bib is hung on its own bronze-cast children’s clothing hanger.
Am I not a man and brother? is sourced from the image of the supplicant slave, centrally located in the public perception of slavery and abolition in Britain. The original symbol with text was conceived by Josiah Wedgwood in 1807. The clear and direct nature of the text used in today’s climate still evokes contemplation about the biases inherent in humanity’s existence.
Our intention in using the adapted phrase “Am I not your brother? Am I not your sister?” through the child’s lens it is placed within, is to encourage the viewer to contemplate suppressed or ignored attitudes informing race, gender and equality issues in the locational context of the installation.
Institute of Historical Research, University of London and Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past, and University of York. “Topic Two.” The image of the supplicant slave: advert or advocate?