Honouring Our Ancestors by Tina Tamsho-Thomas

Peformance poet Tina Tamsho-Thomas worked with visitors to create new work which was performed at the Honouring Our Ancestors event on 5 August 2007.

Poetry performance Honouring Our Ancestors by Tina Tamsho-Thomas, 5 August 2007Tina Tamsho-Thomas created a new piece of work inspired by discussions between visitors and curators about objects in our collections with connections to the transatlantic slave trade.

The bonbonniere, a tiny decorative storage box for sugar coated mints, would have been a symbol of status and wealth for its owner in the 1770s.

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Bonbonniere

I am Bonbonniere,
made in my slave masters’ image, I am elegant,
delicate, decorative, attractive, delightful,
veneered, refined, ornate, beautiful. Envied
emblem of Europe’s stolen wealth and power.

I am Bonbonniere,
possessed by prosperous, profiteering, predatory
upper classes. Pirates who made their heap, their
pile, their mint, their ill gotten gains from madness,
insanity, misery, cruelty, base inhumanity, bastard brutality,
butchery, debauchery, depravity, degradation, iniquity,
gluttony and greed.

I am Bonbonniere,
from my exquisite minted mouth I wretched
Europe’s bitter anthem and sweetened the stench
of blood drenched world hypocrisy.

I am Bonbonniere,
owned by respectable, up-right, self-righteous,
judicious, un-clean living, filthy rich, scum of the earth,
parasites feeding on the fat of the land.
African lands.

I am Bonbonniere,
made in my masters’ vile image, my exquisite
monstrous mouth wretches Europe’s bitter anthem and
sweetens the stench of blood drenched world hypocrisy.


© Tina Tamsho-Thomas

Remembering Slavery community programmes

Visitor in the Gallery of Craft and Design
Local community groups creatively explore our collections to uncover Manchester's links to the transatlantic slave trade.