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Dem Tell Me What they Want to Tell Me

Intended for Jamaica Exhibition - Photograph

Edward Willaim Gordon and Paul Bogle, Tracey Thorne, photo Jamaica in Intended for Jamaica


The faded mural of George William Gordon and Paul Bogle | Morant Bay | Jamaica

This photograph is currently being exhibited in the exhibition Intended for Jamaica at the Library of Birmingham. The exhibition seeks to explore Caribbean history found in the Boulton & Watt Collection and the history of steam engines. This history has been sidelined and is a lesser-studied part of the story, with much of the narrative centered around our city's industrial heroes Boulton, Watt, and Murdoch.

I went to St. Thomas in Jamaica and made this work, which is shown in the exhibition. This photograph is currently being exhibited a short distance from the Golden Boys statue in Centenary Square, inviting people to think about who we hold as heroes and reflect on those who are forgotten or not even talked about.

My British education provided me with little knowledge of Caribbean heroes or resistance to British rule and slavery.

My work as an artist helps me to learn about this history and start to develop a more inclusive account of our history and shared past.

This reminded me of the poem by John Agard (2004) - Checking Out My History

Dem tell me

Dem tell me wha dem want to tell me

But now I checking out me own history

I carving out me identity

George William Gordon and Paul Bogle were hung by the British Colonial Government in October 1865 at the Court House, in Morant Bay in the parish of St Thomas, Jamaica. Both men are remembered today as National Heroes of Jamaica.

BBC In Our Time episode - Morant Bay Rebellion


© Tracey Thorne
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