The Caribbean slave woman has long been a figure of mystique and misrepresentation, from the works of 18thth-century European authors to recent historical texts about Caribbean slavery. Where she does appear, she is often shrouded in degrading stereotypes, the victim of projected fantasies and anxieties. While the most groundbreaking historical work on slave women has begun to uncover their quotidian realities, the sources utilized require significant decoding to move beyond the ideological constructs that governed the representation of African women during the period of Caribbean slavery. This exhibit will present such texts and images from the 18thth-century Caribbean basin, especially the Caribbean islands and the British, French, Spanish, and Dutch holdings on the northeast coast of South America. Many generalizations about the lives of slave women can be drawn about the countries in question because of their nearly universal development of sugar-based economies and the resulting implementation of a very specific regime of Caribbean slavery.
Post Digital Network
There is often a collective amnesia in the North that suggests slavery was strictly a Southern evil, that the buying and selling of human bodies took place solely in states located on the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon. New York City, beacon of liberalism and diversity that it is today, could not have been home to such cruel and brutal injustices. But the ugly, hard-to-swallow truth is that New York — once the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam — was the capital of American slavery for more than years.
It was one of the best-known and critically acclaimed American artworks of the nineteenth century,  and is among the most popular American sculptures ever. Powers originally modeled the work in clay, in Florence, Italy , completing it on March 12, Five more full-sized versions of the statue in marble were mechanically reproduced for private patrons, based on Powers' original model, along with numerous smaller-scale versions. Copies of the statue were displayed in a number of venues around Great Britain and the United States; it quickly became one of Powers' most famous works, and held symbolic meaning for some American abolitionists, inspiring an outpouring of prose and poetry. The statue depicts a young woman, nude, bound in chains; in one hand she holds a small cross on a chain. Powers himself described the subject of the work thus:. The Slave has been taken from one of the Greek Islands by the Turks, in the time of the Greek revolution, the history of which is familiar to all. Her father and mother, and perhaps all her kindred, have been destroyed by her foes, and she alone preserved as a treasure too valuable to be thrown away. She is now among barbarian strangers, under the pressure of a full recollection of the calamitous events which have brought her to her present state; and she stands exposed to the gaze of the people she abhors, and awaits her fate with intense anxiety, tempered indeed by the support of her reliance upon the goodness of God. Gather all these afflictions together, and add to them the fortitude and resignation of a Christian, and no room will be left for shame.
Click upon photograph to obtain larger image. Many Victorian artists escaped condemnation in the public eye for depicting nudes by giving their art a title from mythology or an exotic culture. Doing so dilutes and distances the sensual nature, for as Peter Gay argues, "The more generalized and idealized the presentation of the human body in art, the more draped in elevated associations, the less likely it is to shock its viewers. The myth of Andromeda found its way into artwork long before the Victorian period, and continued as a popular theme throughout the nineteenth century. Etty's shows an incredibly fleshy woman, quite powerful in every curve of her rounded limbs. If not for the chains, she hardly represents the victimized woman at all. Burne-Jones's Andromeda, however, has an almost androgynous quality in her thin body and narrow hips. She passively waits, helplessly exposed, as Perseus swoops in to her rescue.