The Slave’s Lament

Thanks to Kathleen Mansfield for kind words about the Portrait Gallery tour last weekend. And yes, go see ‘The Slave’s Lament’ – beautiful, intruiging installation containing video, sculpture and prints, and a setting of Burns’s poem by Sally Beamish performed by Ghetto Priest and members of the Scottish Ensemble.

Kathleen Mansfield

Last week I joined Helen Boden,  a specialist in writing from art, at The Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh to see Graham Fagen’s The Slave’s Lament installation (on until 29 October). It was a fascinating 45 minutes sharing reactions and thoughts with others.

One participant, a Greek national, told us of the Syrian camps in Greece today – the shocking but, sadly, unsurprising, exploitation of vulnerable people. Another sparked curiosity about the nature of consciousness when she revealed her mother had been in a coma for three years and she had been compelled to prove her consciousness. I remembered meeting an elderly man from Virginia when I was a research assistant at the University of Illinois in 1980 who spent a good hour tutoring me in the “fact” that the negro is not a fully formed human. Our flawed humanity and unwillingness to embrace all humanity in compassionate terms…

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