2024: A Hymn to the Banished

A Hymn to the Banished

Annalee Davis

A Hymn to the Banished explores connections between Scotland and Barbados through a newly commissioned artwork as part of the National Trust for Scotland’s ongoing mission to face the legacies of slavery and empire in its properties.

A red and white rectangular object with lace trim

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A Hymn to the Banished insinuates an interlacing of imperial linkages between Barbados and Scotland, inferring centuries of social disruption caused by the plantation system and the colonial project. With the forced transplantation of hundreds of thousands of enslaved African people and numerous Scottish, Irish, Welsh and English indentured labourers, systems of knowledge and rituals crossed the world’s ocean currents, building new cultures in the foreign lands of the West Indies.

British imperialism imposed banishment and generated suffering. Yet, deep knowledge and a desire to heal profound traumas elicited practices that relied on ancient traditions connected to the land and the remembering of sacred rites. Annalee Davis’s bespoke box lined with a fishnet captures and holds handmade books, a scroll of banished women, a container of charms, and other pieces. This limited edition explores notions of rupture, friction, entanglements, and the need to belong in strange places through rituals of incantations, charms, and the desire to repair the ills of British Empire-era indentureship and slavery.

A Hymn to the Banished is a secular prayer in the form of a visual meditation recognising the intuition, knowledge, customs, and tenacity of our forbears and their capacity to confront and survive cruel, brutal conditions.