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Thu, 09 May


Library of Birmingham

Intended for Jamaica Launch

Join us for the free launch of the new exhibition Intended for Jamaica which explores the sale of Boulton and Watt steam engines to sugar plantations in Jamaica

Intended for Jamaica Launch
Intended for Jamaica Launch

Time & Location

09 May 2024, 18:00 – 19:30

Library of Birmingham, The Gallery, 3rd Floor, Centenary Sq, Birmingham B1 2ND, UK

About the event

Join us for the free launch event on Thursday 9 May at 6 pm for the opening of the exhibition Intended for Jamaica at the Library of Birmingham which opens to the public the following day on 10 May until 24 Aug.

Intended for Jamaica is an artist-led project responding to archives in the Boulton and Watt Collection at the Library of Birmingham.

The new work focuses on an unseen part of the archive in the collection that sheds light on the sale of Boulton and Watt Co. steam engines from Soho Foundry near Birmingham to sugar plantations in Jamaica during the nineteenth century. This story represents a missing chapter in the narrative of pioneering industrial heroes Boulton, Watt, and Murdoch, one that is interwoven with the threads of transatlantic slavery, indentured (bonded) labour, and the enduring legacies of colonialism.

The project seeks to explore the collection through artist research that has also informed fieldwork in Jamaica to create new artworks in direct response to the archival records detailing Boulton and Watt's trade with sugar plantations in Jamaica in the nineteenth century. 

The exhibition will show for the first time original archive material from the Boulton & Watt Collection held at the Library of Birmingham relating to the sale of steam engines to Jamaica. The artists will exhibit new photographic works including cyanotypes made in response to the archives and field trips in Jamaica. Other archival items from the artist's own Jamaica collection and other works connected to the story will also be on show.

Details of the full exhibition programme and access information are available here 

Launch Event Details:

Opens at 6 pm on the 3rd Floor of the Library of Birmingham. 

Attendance at the launch is only for booked guests as the upper floors of the Library will be closed to the public.

Includes drinks reception outside the Gallery on the 3rd Floor (note no drinks may be taken into the gallery).

This event is managed by the artist directly not the Library of Birmingham. For further details contact the artist and get in touch in advance for any access or dietary requirements.

The artist-led research and exhibition is based on the work of Birmingham-based photographer and photographic artist Tracey Thorne. The project was supported by Arts Council England and the exhibition is presented in partnership with the Library of Birmingham.

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© Tracey Thorne
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