Central London
Wednesday, November 8, 2023
Thursday, November 9, 2023
Parliament Square, Westminster, London
Christy Symington MRSS

‘EQUIANO’s Journey’ Car Sculpture Farewell Tour by Christy Symington on 3 November 2023 and to the salvage yard on 6 November 2023. The car had broken down, became a sculpture and can no longer remain in its current off-road location. Time to release, document the tour, and move on. Archival film footage will remain as its ongoing journey.

An anti-slavery sculpture reflecting on our historical past with a message of light whilst highlighting Equiano. As we come out of Black History Month, and as history is every day not a month, I hope it shares a remembrance of a path to freedom.

The car being our current day mode of travel representing ships as the major mode of travel in Olaudah Equiano’s time. There is a gold leaf flow of a ‘river’ all round inside the blackout windows as a positive light to freedom from enslavement. BIG taped words of OLAUDAH EQUIANO across the bonnet. I AM … WE ARE on the doors. Map of Africa with Benin highlighted in red, where Equiano was born, an Igbo man. Words HOPE and FREE and a tape silhouette portrait of Equiano I made from the cast shadow of my 3D portrait sculpture of him. The Brooke’s slave ship diagram, the abolitionists symbol showing the horrendous conditions on the ships, goes across the roof and front windscreen. 1807 is the date of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. The rear has UNCONQUERABLE and UNDEFEATED from ‘Invictus’ by William Ernest Henley with sprayed handprints like cave prints – said to be the first human portraits, ‘selfies’ and identity … more recently said to be of female hands.

Added to the aerial as a final element for the farewell tour was a headdress on the aerial of red and black hair, representing Eshu, the Yoruba orisha. Eshu (Elegba) is the ‘trickster in the road’ for all the challenges that come in our lives, not good or bad, but change.

Perhaps symbolic that the car had broken down and the slave trade of that era ended, and those ships no longer exist.