From Monday 22 August to Friday 21 October, All God's Children is a brand new exhibition in Bristol Cathedral and on College Green, exploring the impact of the slave economy on Cathedral life, past and present.
All God’s Children, is part of the Cathedral’s work to understand its links with the transatlantic trade of enslaved people. Research that informed the exhibition discovered that between 1670 and 1900, roughly 1,000 people were buried or memorialised in the Cathedral and its grounds. Around 200 (20%) of them had a close connection to the slavery-based economy.
All God’s Children is an exhibition in two parts;
Inside the Cathedral, exploring the Cathedral’s connections with the transatlantic trade of enslaved people through its memorials and grave-markers.
On College Green, featuring portraits of and remarks, comments or questions from Christians in Bristol, some of whom live with the legacy of slavery and experience the reality of racism in their everyday lives. The portraits displayed were taken by Garfield McKenzie. Garfield has worked in many areas of photography, but his passion has always been people, capturing them in as natural, relaxed manner as possible. He has made it his life’s work to portray the beauty, dignity and multi-faceted nature of members of the African family, countering the often one dimensional, negative images portrayed in the West.
At the end of the exhibition everyone is invited to comment, reflect and feedback about what they think the Cathedral should do next. For example;
Should the Cathedral have a permanent exhibition explaining its links to the slave trade?
Should the Cathedral remove some or all of its monuments with a connection to the slave trade?
Should a monument be commissioned that remembers those who were trafficked, suffered or died as a result of the Transatlantic slave trade?
What is the Cathedral’s role in countering racism in the church and our community today?
We hope that the exhibition will inform a wide-ranging conversation about the stories we tell in the Cathedral, the ways in which we can repair and restore damaged relationships and the ways we can work together for a better future for everyone.
Details for visitors:
There is no charge to visit the exhibition or the Cathedral.
The exhibition in the Cathedral will be on display from 23 August – 21 October. It will be available whenever the Cathedral is open. Visit here for latest updates.
The exhibition on College Green will be on display from 24 August – 29 September. Available 24/7.
Why is Bristol Cathedral putting on this exhibition?
The Bible teaches us in many places that each and every person is loved and valued by God. We are told that when one person suffers, we all suffer. Yet Christians have so often failed to behave as if this is what they believe. For hundreds of years many of the people who gathered in this Cathedral enslaved, bought and sold their sisters and brothers of colour. They exploited, raped and murdered them and the exploiters did not see their actions as being incompatible with their Christian faith.
We recognise that neither the injustices of the past nor the impact of racism in the present have been properly acknowledged in the Cathedral. We seek to welcome to everyone but we know that it cannot be truly welcoming until the story of the painful legacy of slavery is told within these walls and until the contribution of all our sisters and brothers to our shared life is recognised.
This exhibition presents the first findings of a research project into Bristol Cathedral’s connections with slavery as revealed through its memorials and grave-markers. We hope that it will help to inform a wide-ranging conversation about the stories we tell, the ways in which we can repair and restore damaged relationships and the ways we can work together for a better future for everyone.
Next All God’s Children Dates
- Monday 22nd August 2022, 12:00 am