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Abolition of slavery commemorated in art installation at St Paul's

Six steel figures by a renowned African artist have been placed inside St Paul’s Cathedral, to commemorate the abolition of slavery and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr preaching at the Cathedral.

All the World is now Richer, an installation by Sokari Douglas Camp CBE, is a work made of six life-sized steel figures, standing in a line to represent successive stages of the slavery story.

The figures arrived at the Cathedral on Monday 3 March - just hours after 12 Years a Slave had been named best film at the Oscars - and will remain, just inside the Great West Doors for three months.

Having already been displayed at Bristol Cathedral, Norwich Cathedral and St George’s Hall in Liverpool, the sculptures are inspired by the words of liberated ex-slave William Prescott, who said: "They will remember that we were sold but they won’t remember that we were strong; they will remember that we were bought but not that we were brave.”

Sokari’s work is intended to act as a constructive response to slavery. The work invites viewers to salute the survivors who have contributed to the lives we lead today. And the work is particularly timely for St Paul’s, as 2014 marks 50 years since Dr Martin Luther King Jr preached at the Cathedral as he travelled to Norway to collect his Nobel Peace Prize.

The Reverend Canon Mark Oakley, Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral said: "These solid, elemental and compelling sculptures by Sokari Douglas Camp alert us to suffering and shame whilst also provoking us to hope. They celebrate the courage and resilience of those forced into slavery. They remind us all of an appalling trade which some Christians and others fought hard to eradicate – and still do today. In this 50th anniversary year of Martin Luther King Jr preaching at St Paul’s, this work is a celebration of the human spirit and the beauty of the unconquerable diversity of all of us made in the divine image.”

For more information about All the World is now Richer, visit: www.alltheworld.sokari.co.uk
 
Visitor information
The installation will be accessible to all Cathedral visitors. During regular sightseeing times, usual entry charges apply. All worshipers to the Cathedral (for whom there is never any charge) will also be able to see the installation.
 

Sokari Douglas Camp CBE
Born in Nigeria, Sokari studied fine art at Central School of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art. She has had more than 40 solo shows worldwide in the National Musuem of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, American Museum of National History, Setagaya Museum in Tokyo and the British Museum. In 2005 she became an Honorary Fellow of London’s University of the Arts and was awarded CBE in recognition of her services to the arts.
www.sokari.co.uk

Dr Martin Luther King’s visit to St Paul’s
St Paul’s became most vigorously involved in the fight against racism when Canon John Collins joined the Cathedral Chapter in 1948. Collins was deeply concerned with Civil Rights in the USA and the anti-apartheid movement in Africa. He was instrumental in getting Dr King to St Paul’s.
Text from Martin Luther King, Jr by Roger Bruns: "On 4 December, 1964 he and twenty-five friends and family left the United States for Norway and the Nobel ceremonies. They stopped in London where the party was treated nearly like royalty...From the pulpit of St Paul’s Cathedral he addressed a congregation of 4,000, giving a sermon The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life, the first sermon he had delivered in his ministry at Dexter Church.”
Five years later, Dr King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, became the first woman to preach in the Cathedral.