Makers Unknown was on display from May 26th, 2017 until February 28, 2018.
Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice Gallery at Brown University
94 Waterman Street, Providence, RI 02912
Makers Unknown: Material Objects and the Enslaved examines material culture to understand the ways in which the institution of racial slavery shaped the daily lives of all Rhode Islanders. Typically, historic archives preserve the objects and documents of prominent merchant families. When we reread these objects and archives to better understand the lives of the individuals whom they enslaved, we find within the gaps of the formal archives, new narratives. Makers Unknown represents the work of artisans of color whose contributions to their craft remain unrecognized. This is our starting point. The material culture produced by enslaved and free people of color for themselves or in their capacity as an unending source of coerced labor gives us a lens into their agency, humanity, and the many ways they negotiated freedom.