Conceptual artist Sue Williamson has launched an exhibition, One Hundred and Nineteen Deeds of Sale, which details the history of the slave trade in the Cape.

Williamson has written out deeds of sale from the slave trade, extracted from the Cape Town Deeds Office on linen shirts and lengths of cloth sent from India.

Her exhibition at the Castle of Good Hope is based on the records of transactions about each of the individuals brought here from India to be bought and sold. The exhibition is part of the ICA Live Art Festival.

“I think Capetonians are fairly familiar with the basic fact that the Dutch East India Company enslaved people and imported them to work at the Castle and in the Company’s Garden, but I do believe that a true recognition of the trauma of history leads to a greater understanding of the present.”

At the opening event of the exhibition on Friday, Williamson read extracts from historical accounts, while a young woman who works at the Castle picked up each shirt from a shipping pallet, read out the name and information, then took it inside an old kitchen off the main lawn, and handed it over to be dipped in mud and hung on a washing line. Read more