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Inside the invisibleMemorialising Slavery and Freedom in the Life and Works of Lubaina Himid$
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Celeste-Marie Bernier, Alan Rice, Lubaina Himid, and Hannah Durkin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620856

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620856.001.0001

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Reimaging and Reimagining an Absent-Presence in Cotton.com (2003)

Reimaging and Reimagining an Absent-Presence in Cotton.com (2003)

(p.183) 8 Reimaging and Reimagining an Absent-Presence in Cotton.com (2003)
Inside the invisible

Celeste-Marie Bernier

Alan Rice

Lubaina Himid

Hannah Durkin

Liverpool University Press

Himid teases out cotton’s multiple implications as a priceless commodity in the global economy to tell stories that rebound backwards and forwards across time and geographies implicating populations from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe in local spaces and global networks that promote complex narratives around race, ethnicity, gender, class and nation. Her installation connects workers in Manchester to slaves in South Carolina to tell their interconnected stories through black and white patterns that mimic both historical and contemporary communication modes from ballads to mobile phone texts and computer communications. The specific history of the Lancaster Cotton Famine and its link to the American Civil War is key to the message of solidarity told through Cotton.com. Himid’s message of Transatlantic solidarity is discussed in terms of Michael Rothberg’s theoretical frame of multi-dimensional memory as a counterpoint to the limitations of Pierre Nora’s theories of memory and history. In spite of an inadequate material archive, she conjures through her work new ways to articulate forgotten histories that traditional historians elide.

Keywords:   Lubaina Himid, Abraham Lincoln, Cotton Famine, American Civil War, slavery, multi-dimensional memory, ballads, exploitation, race, class, agency, revolution, solidarity, working class, historiography, activism, violence, trauma

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