Martin Chatterton

Slavery, Hillsborough and the selective amnesia of a ghost-bloodied city

My creative thesis suggests that there exists a clear link between Liverpool’s unresolved relationship with the legacy of slavery and its continuing unwelcome reputation as Britain’s ‘most racist’ city. While the culturally accepted slave narrative has been safely consigned to a packaged and desiccated history, the connections between slavery and present day civil unrest and chronic ongoing black invisibility are subsumed in a collective amnesia in stark contrast to the fetishistic memorialization currently at work regarding the Hillsborough disaster. Walter Benjamin’s observations on history via Klee’s Angelus Novus, and sculptor Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North (along with his Liverpool-sited Another Place), have led me to the idea of angels as ‘mediators between worlds’ functioning as touchstone ‘tonal signifiers’ which lie tantalizingly outside the realm of conventional discourse. This paper is a discussion of how a creative translation of the imagery and iconography of angels might be articulated in an attempt to shine a new light on the city’s selective memory. It will be framed as a reading and visual presentation.