crammed to slavery

Posted in Art by okkame on October 11, 2010

Hank Willis Thomas (American, b. 1976), Absolut Power (from the series Branded), 2003, photograph, Duratrans, Plexiglas, light box, Museum purchase, Kathryn Hurd Fund, M.2007.5.



“Hank Willis Thomas’s Absolut Power mines the language of advertising to talk about race, class, and history. Absolut Power employs the popular advertising campaign to remind viewers of economic implications of the transatlantic slave trade.”


The Middle Passage was the stage of the triangular trade in which millions of people from Africa were taken to the New World, as part of the Atlantic slave trade. Ships departed Europe for African markets with manufactured goods, which were traded for purchased or kidnapped Africans, who were transported across the Atlantic as slaves; the slaves were then sold or traded for raw materials, which would be transported back to Europe to complete the voyage. A single voyage on the Middle Passage was a large financial undertaking, and they were generally organized by companies or groups of investors rather than individuals.”


One Response

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  1. Amy said, on October 12, 2010 at 12:13 am

    This work is really powerful. I remember seeing the original illustration in my high school history book.

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