Wealth of No Nations refers to the title of a book written in 1776 by Adam Smith, what is recognized as the totem of modern economics, in other words a “capitalist manifesto”.
British-Ghanaian artist Godfried Donkor created his works for this exhibition following a period of research in 2007, the bicentenary year of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire. His work reflects on abuses linked with human trade across the oceans, highlighting their echoes and ongoing relevance through combining colonial imagery and contemporary media and iconography. Kagiso Pat Mautloa, using found objects and collage, focuses his attention on currency as an emblem of exploitation in modern society, capturing a sense of discomfort and tension with the ongoing ramifications of slavery and human trade.
Both artists explore the ideas of exploitation and subjugation, fragments of a past we would like to think are unimaginable in our days… but are they?