Abolition 2007: Events In London This Weekend

| 22 March 2007
photo of petrol can tops laid side to side looking like human faces

Detail from La Bouche du Roi, an installation piece by artist Romuald Hazoumé in the shape of a slave ship. It's just been acquired by the British Museum and is on display in Room 35. Photography: Benedict Johnson. Courtesy of the British Museum.

The transatlantic slave trade was abolished on March 25th, 1807.

Look out for major events at the National Portrait Gallery, the National Maritime Museum and particularly at the British Museum where around 50 events will be happening in just four hours.

The story of slavery will unmissably permeate all the galleries of the museum and the day will end with a hour long commemoration in the Great Court led by a telecast from Nelson Mandela.

The events cover all sorts of mediums - film seasons (that continue into the summer), walks, performance, art classes as well as the more traditional museum exhibitions. The vast majority are free, and offer a chance to get a really nuanced picture of the different aspects of the story.

Here we pick out just a few choices - mixing major exhibitions with small scale talks. For a more complete London listing, search here - or for events across the country, explore the Abolition of Slavery website.

photo shows romuald hazoume with his artwork in the background

Romuald Hazoumé. Photography: Benedict Johnson. Courtesy of the British Museum.

1. FRIDAY Begin the weekend with gospel music and readings by actor and playwright Kwame Kwei Armah at the National Portrait Gallery March 23rd, 15:00 Free.

2. FRIDAY Alternatively find out about how women affected abolition at the Yaa Asantewaa Arts Centre. There's a panel discussion and live performances as well as readings from Mary Prince.

photo shows close up of single petrol can from installation with red feather on it

Detail from La Bouche du Roi. Photography: Benedict Johnson. Courtesy of the British Museum.

3. SATURDAY Find out about the traces of the slave trade in art and design at the Victoria and Albert Museum in a tour led by historian Peter Ashan. 24th March, 15:00. Free.

4. SUNDAY You can read the British Museum's complete listings for the coming weekend here.

It's hard to choose just one or two things from this huge programme, but look out for actor Emmanuel Ighodaro's readings from Olaudah Equiano (Room 1, 16.50) or Simon Schama reading from his book on the trade, Rough Crossings (Room 25, 16.40) or go back 2 million years with Jill Cook to find out about the first diasporas (14.20, Room 2). There's also a chance to watch free films about Olaudah Equiano (A Son of Africa, 14.30) and Paul Bogle, the '19th century Malcolm X' (Catch A Fire, 16.00).

All events March 25th, 14:00 - 18:30 Free.

photo of petrol cans laid out in the shape of a slave ship

The complete installation from above. Photography: Benedict Johnson. Courtesy of the British Museum.

5. SUNDAY Go for a walk around Lambeth with knowledgeable historian S I Martin and see your neighbourhood in a new light. Discover its connections with slave owning families and the abolitionists. March 25th, 16:00 Free. Meet outside Holy Trinity Church, Clapham Common.

6. The October Gallery has commissioned three African artists for their latest exhibition From Courage To Freedom. A chance to see more work by Romuald Hazoumé whose installation about the slave trade La Bouche du Roi has just been acquired by the British Museum. until 28th April, Free.

photo shows event at the british museum with crowd watching actress

Courtesy of the British Museum.

7. Back at the National Portrait Gallery again Arguing Abolition is your chance to relive the early 19th century with actors representing the issues at the time of Abolition. The audience are invited to intervene in the debate and question the players on both sides of the Abolition of the transatlantic trade. 30th March - tickets required from the main hall.

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