Sugar and Spice

Jaimini Patel
17 January 2003 to 3 March 2003

In this exhibition, sensuous and beautifully crafted buildings made with sugars and spices seduced the viewer into a contemplation of pleasant culinary delights, only to shock them with the truth about how they came to be enjoyed as everyday goods in this country.

“Sugar and spice deal with Britain’s colonial trade. The scramble for things like cocoa, sugar and other spices across the world are inextricably linked … These commodities that came out of the West Indies, Americas and India changed the history and destiny of many individuals forever.” (Jaimini Patel, 2002)

Patel, an artist with a British Asian background, became interested in buildings in Britain that were built from the profits of the slave trade. ‘Architecture reveals stories about societies of the past, but my research found that what is not beautiful in these histories has been written out.’ The Bluecoat building in Liverpool was originally a school that ‘apprenticed’ boys to captains of slavers; the Georgian House in Bristol was built from Caribbean sugar plantation profits. Buildings such as these can be found all around the world from bustling cities such as Mumbai to remote Caribbean islands. They stand resolute as a reminder of a past that continues to underpin our lives.

Jaimini Patel has exhibited extensively in the UK, with work shown 2003 in a touring exhibition inaugurated at the British Council Gallery in New Delhi, India and an exhibition at the Stroud House Gallery in Gloucestershire.