The exhibit installed in early 2017 by Bob Dilworth, Director of the Main Gallery at the University of Rhode Island
Kingston, is on ‘slave cloth,’ with phenomenal work of artist Deborah Baronas, research Marcus Nevius, Peter Fay, Matthew Reilly, Deborah Matthews. This exhibition explores Rhode Island’s textile industry and its connections to slavery, the slave trade and other related institutions from 1783 to the 1850s.
"In 1703, Rhode Island recognized and legalized enslavement. Just over one hundred years later, the United States Congress passed a federal law banning the international slave trade, which curiously heralded a boom in the domestic slave trade. Slavery was not outlawed in Rhode Island until 34 years later."
Invisible Bodies, Disposable Cloth uses text, images, artifacts, and multimedia installation to explore the interdependence of our country’s economy and its intrinsic links with the institution of slavery. It also shines a particularly bright light on Rhode Island’s economy beginning in 1783 and running all through the 1850s.
Members of the URI Kingston contingent of RI Middle Passage Ceremonies & Port Markers Project met at URI Providence Campus in September 2017 with Steven Pennell, Artist in Residence, to check out the gallery space for Feb 2018 touring exhibit of “Invisible Bodies, Disposable Cloth.”