House Slave - Field Slave

House Slave - Field Slave I, oil and metal leaf on canvas 150 x 200cm

'House Slave - Field Slave: A Portrait of Contemporary Slavery' by Nicola Green was first exhibited at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in October 2007. It was then exhibited as part of Haringey's Black History Month at Bruce Castle Museum in October - December 2010. Nicola's triptych is now in the permanent collection at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool.

Nicola Green's portrait of contemporary slavery 'House Slave - Field Slave' was made for and in collaboration with Anti-Slavery International to commemorate the anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in 2007.

The exhibition consists of a large 'altarpiece' scale triptych with preparatory studies. These are set alongside artefacts of contemporary slavery from the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool and the extraordinary photos and text from Anti-Slavery International, which inspired this work.

The painting tells the story of contemporary slavery. There are an estimated 12 million people in the world today who are still enslaved - even though the British slave trade was abolished 200 years ago.

House Slave - Field Slave II, acrylic and metal leaf on canvas 40 x 80cm x 3
"The reason Nicola Green has painted feet and not faces in this particular picture is that slaves have very little sense of their own identity; slaves don't even own their bodies...although you don't see the faces, we all know what these people look like." -Ian Dejardin, director of The Dulwich Picture Gallery
The painting is strikingly made of a gold leaf background to evoke the iconography of saints and martyrs of the past. As Ian Dejardin stresses, "the gold's sheer value, and its rich connotations, project onto these faceless slaves a universal value, in defiance of today's global racism and prejudices."  

In order to create awareness of the on-going slavery problem, Nicola ran workshops at The Dulwich Picture Gallery as part of their Education Programme. Nicola used her slavery portraits to inspire, educate and inform students from Kingsdale Secondary School, and Southwark's Gifted and Talented pupils, to produce their own work influenced by the issue.

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