Speedwell lights switched off to mark National Day of Mourning

Nov 26, 2020

Speedwell lit up Mount Batten Pier in Plymouth UK from September 2020, before being  'extinguished' in November.

Created by local artist collective Still/Moving, this large-scale art installation was funded by Arts Council England and Plymouth Culture as part of Mayflower 400.

During its short time in the city, the artwork turned into a public forum for discussion and debate about the impact and legacy of the Mayflower's journey, colonialism and the ecological state of our planet during the Mayflower 400 commemorations.

On Thursday, 26 November, the words 'NO NEW WORLDS' shone out until dusk, when the artwork was switched off for the remaining duration of its installation (until Sunday 29 November) to mark a phase of mourning.

The artists asked people to light a fire or candle at dusk in solidarity and unity with the plight of Indigenous people worldwide as part of the US National Day of Mourning.

At dusk, wherever they were in the world, people were asked send a photo or film of their flame via social media using the hashtags #NONEWWORLDS or #MayflowersKill or via email to amplify@stillmoving.org

This act was co-initiated by the Amplify team of Still/Moving artists Leonie Hampton, Martin Hampton and Laura Hopes, together with Stephanie Pratt, Melinda Schwakhofer and Sam Maltais, and Marial Quezada from Survival International.

It was a collective response to the trauma of this date and the need for any attention drawn to this moment to continue onwards, for light to come out of the dark.

The fascinating film below was created to recognise the day and the words of collaborators of Amplify.

It includes explanations about the history and reverberations of the Day of Mourning by Dr Stephanie Pratt and Marial Quezada and a poignant reading of Frank James' suppressed text which he wrote for the 350th anniversary of the Mayflower’s sailing, which he was not allowed to read.

His granddaughter, Kisha James, reads the text here in full.

Discover more about Amplify here.

Read more about the National Day of Mourning here.

Find out more about Speedwell here.

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