Am I Not a Man and a Brother?
Currency collage archival print
Image size: 5 x 6.5 in.
Framed size: 19 x 16.75 in.
Open Edition Artist Proof
ARTIST STATEMENT: CHRISTOPHER WILDE
Based on a woodcut image of a slave in chains from 1837, from a broadside of John Greenleaf Whittier's antislavery poem, "Our Countrymen in Chains." The design was adopted as the seal of the Society for the Abolition of Slavery in England in the 1780s.
The composition of this medallion is perfect. Full of drama and pathos, as well as a plea of empathetic compassion. The choice of this image resonates because of its historical significance as an abolitionist broadside addressing the crime of the slave trade; but also, when recreated out of currency it alludes to questions about value, trade, economics, and imperialism. A further question hovers: does capitalism make slaves of us all?