David Dabydeen’s ‘Turner’, written in response to Turner’s famous painting of 1840, ‘Slavers Throwing Over the Dead and the Dying’, is a masterful reworking of the painting originally celebrated for its composition and colour – Ruskin noted the ‘genius’ with which he illuminated the turbulent sea and sky during a typhoon – in which critical process the slaves whose lives were cast aside so easily in the hopes of a successful insurance claim were quite forgotten.
In Dabydeen’s poem, this process is reversed and the “slaves who have been drowning in Turner’s sea for centuries” are given a voice – the voice of the poem’s speaker, a child Dabydeen names Turner.
Originally published in 1994, Dabydeen’s poem has a particular contemporary resonance at a time when once more, victims of inhumane situations face enormous peril travelling by sea.
- Event: In Conversation with Jill Macdonald
- Participant: David Dabydeen
- Location: Hall de Galle, Galle Fort
- Date: Thursday, Jan 25th, 2018
- Time: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
(David Dabydeen’s participation in the Festival is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Unilever Foods.)
Photography by The Fotocube