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The Site of Memory

Cyanotypes of sugarcane on calico fabric made in Jamaica at a site of historic enslavement.



The Site of Memory

Cyanotypes of sugarcane on calico fabric (2023)

Installation in Jamaica | Westmoreland


This video was made in the sugarcane fields near to a former sugar plantation called Midgham, in the parish of Westmoreland in Jamaica. Tracey visited the site whilst tracing the sale of Boulton & Watt Steam engines to sugar plantations from Birmingham, UK. Engine sold to the estate in 1816 number of enslaved 220.


The blueprints were made using discarded pieces of sugarcane in a field that had recently been harvested. The sugarcane was laid over the treated calico fabric and exposed to the sun. The fabric pieces were washed under tap water. The dried fabric turned a Prussian blue making prints of the sugarcane creating photograms, these are cyanotype images on calico.

The dried fabric photograms were then hung on a cane cart and this short film made to think about the land, the people, and the legacies of British slavery.


Work made by photo artist Tracey Thorne, in Jamaica as part of her project Sugarland Jamaica which is supported by Arts Council England


One of the pieces is currently being exhibited in her new exhibition:

Intended for Jamaica - open from 11 May to 24 August at the Library of Birmingham details here.


All Rights Reserved Copyright Tracey Thorne, 2023

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