2 September 2018

Artist Maud Sulter discovered two Black women at the court of King James IV of Scotland

self portrait Maud Sulter
The late artist and writer Maud Sulter (1960—2008) discovered the attendance of two Black women at the court of King James IV of Scotland in the 16th century. In August she starred at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland (In Focus: Scottish Photography).

In 1997 She created a photomontage entitled 'Twa Blak Wimmin' which was inspired by historical accounts of ‘Blak Margaret’ and ‘Blak Elene’ who were feted at the court of King James IV of Scotland in the early 16th century.

Maud Sulter wrote: 'I have been thinking about these women for a long time since I discovered them... Really they’ve continued to haunt me. There is a compulsion to imagine that black people arrived in Britain in the 1950s and they hadn’t been here before. So to recognise a more historical link between Europe and Africa is important to me.’

The spelling of the title (Two Black Women) suggests old Scots language, and was inspired by historical accounts of ‘Blak Margaret’ and ‘Blak Elene’ at the court of King James IV of Scotland (1473–1513).

William Dunbar, poet to the royal court, wrote of a splendidly attired black woman who took part in a tournament lasting forty days, after which she disappeared. The presence of black women at the Scottish court is also documented in records of gifts of gowns, fabric and money given to ‘Blak Elene’ or ‘Elen More’ in 1512 and ‘Blak Margaret’ in 1513

Maud Sulter (1960—2008) was a photographic artist, poet, and curator of Scottish-Ghanaian descent. She declared that she wanted ‘to put black women back in the centre of the frame’. Her work aimed to bring to light the histories of women, real or imagined, whose contribution to culture had been ignored or erased. Sulter believed passionately in the longstanding historical links between Africa and Europe. She said ‘there is a compulsion to imagine that black people arrived in Britain in the 1950s’ but, as her work shows, there has been a black presence in the UK and Europe for centuries.

https://www.facebook.com/Maud-Sulter-Passion-912136838830408/


No comments:

Post a Comment