Darkness of the Slave Trade
By Ayshea Buksh
The silence of the dark is shattered by screams of pain and torture. Voices of fear mingle with sounds of suffering.
This is The DARK, a unique sound installation which lets people experience life on board a slave ship in the 18th century.
The Dark is based on the true story of abolitionist and seaman Edward Rushton. He was so appalled by the treatment of the human cargo while travelling on board a slave ship, he decided to surreptitiously give food and water to them. His act of kindness though cost him his sight and he went blind after contracting the highly contagious disease Opthalmia, which had spread among the slaves.
One of the slaves he befriends on board is Kunle. Rushton had recounted to his friends many times that he had befriended a young African boy on a ship, whom he had taught to read and write, and who had later saved his life.
The cruel Captain in the story is based on John Newton- one of the most famous players in the history of the slave trade. After time spent working on the slave ships, Newton went from being slave ship master to a Christian abolitionist. He famously co-wrote the words to the song Amazing Grace - which can be heard in the installation.
After Greenwich, The Dark will tour other cities around country including Ipswich, Birmingham and Norwich.
For more information check out the website http://www.thedark.net/
last updated: 09/04/2008 at 09:25