This photograph is called the Rhinebeck Panorama. This photo was found in 1941 in a loft in Rhinebeck, New York State. It was originally 2.5 metres long, in watercolour. Before slavery was introduced, you would be able to trade stuff like swords for diamonds, so it was a win-win situation. However, soon after, land was up for sale in the Caribbean. Rich Europeans brought the land that contained sugar canes and then faced a dilemma. Who would care for the plants and cut them? They then thought that black Africans could become slaves. So when they went to trade, they asked for slaves instead of diamonds. The slaves were put on ships in thousands. Once they were over to the Caribbean, they got forced to work all day. They soon became weak. They hardly got fed. Even pregnant women were made to work. This was good for the rich because they had more people for no more money. Also the women got raped sometimes so that the master would have free slaves.
When we did our drama performance using our knowledge that we told at the beginning and made 5 freeze frames about slavery. Our group Farrah, Teagan, Beth, Chloe and Alice, did a performance. Our first freeze was when we were all happy and then Chloe got chained and then we all got chained up. Then we had to be a slave and work and cut the sugar canes. The last freeze frame was when we all died.
In the gallery we saw lots of different objects used in the slavery year. There were a lot of pictures and information you could read about slavery. There was a PowerPoint being shown near the end of the gallery and it was saying how slavery is cruel. Also there was a model of a west indie warehouse which would have been the same style in the slavery years which was really interesting.
We then did a workshop on poetry where a women carved her babies out of heartwood and she kept them in her clothes so they didn’t get taken away. Also she didn’t get her art work signed so the poem was called “So who was the mother of Jamaican art?”
Object handling session
The artefacts came from around 1700s to the 1800s so the papers were very fragile. After lunch, we went to a handling session. There we got to hold objects from the slavery period. We went to visit 4 tables. The first one was filled with objects from West Africa before the transatlantic trade. There was a bronze leopard from Benin, an iron plaque from Benin, a kente cloth from Ghana, bronze (or brass) weights from Benin and a gourd rattle.
The next table was to do with trade/products of enslaved African labour. There were a replica sugar cane, tobacco, a clay pipe, wooden cigar box, rum bottle, sugar nippers, replica sugar cones, cotton, coffee and a leather box with scales.
The third table had different drums with beaters and one of the drums had strings around it so when you put it round under your arm it tightened the strings and made the pitch different.
The last table had Manillas, sugar cane, slave bracelet and key and papers from plantation owners.