THE BOOK LIBERATOR: PLUNDER, PRESENCE, PERPETUITY
FRIDAY 5 AUGUST 2016, 18:00 – 21:45
The V&A, and other UK heritage institutions hold a number of Ethiopian artifacts that were seized under the reign of Queen Victoria. During a military raid in 1868, General Sir Robert Napier ransacked Emperor Tewodros II’s fortress at Magdala. Regalia, manuscripts, religious antiquities and more were plundered and auctioned to the highest bidder.
During the 1980s Ras Seymour Maclean campaigned tirelessly to ‘liberate’ nearly 2000 books from British institutions to reclaim part of Africa’s stolen legacy and identity. Explore this and the many stories behind these ‘spoil of war’ and the future of the Ethiopian ‘Fatherland’.
View sacred art from Ethiopia and items associated with the Napier invasion; hear the Majesty and the Movement keynote speech with Dr Robbie Shilliam, and panel discussion with Ras Shango Baku; debate the taxonomy of reparations with Esther Stanford-Xosei and Kofi Mawuli Klu; create a personal symbol of peace and ‘one love’ with British Zambian artist Jackie Mwanza; immerse yourself in Nyabinghi prayers, narratives and songs with the Ras Messengers and the Nile Valley Art Ensemble; and embrace a pulsating dub and roots Reggae soundtrack with Ras Digby (Sir Jessus Sound) and Mistah Brown (Tighten Up Crew) on the controls.
This event commemorates five key epochs in the Ethiopian and Rastafarian calendars including:
- 50th Anniversary of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie’s visit to the Caribbean in 1966
- 80th Anniversary of Haile Selassie’s address to the League of Nations (1936)
- 100th Anniversary of Haile Selassie’s coronation as Negus (King) Ras Tafari (1916)
- 120th Anniversary of the Battle of Adwa against Italy led by Menelik II in 1896
- 140th Anniversary of the birth of Zewditu I (1876), Empress of Ethiopia 1916-1930
In celebration of the 2015 – 2024 International Decade for People of African Descent
In collaboration with Rastafari the Majesty and the Movement UK
Jointly organized with Black Cultural Archives (BCA) for the exhibition ‘Rastafari in Motion’
Admission free and drop-in
VICTORIA AND ALBERT (V&A) MUSEUM
Nearest Tube: South Kensington (District, Circle & Piccadilly Lines) and Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line)
Buses: C1, 14, 74 & 414
Programme Manager Black Heritage and Culture
Victoria & Albert Museum
Direct Line: 020 7942 2184
Please note that I work part-time at the V&A and my usual days are Wed PM, all day Thursday and Friday.