The Past Cannot Be Cured

As part of my research for this project, I decided to look at how people of African descent were represented throughout history. I focussed my research onto on particular period - the reign of Elizabeth I.

In 1596 Queen Elizabeth I issued an open letter to the lord Mayor of London announcing that there were too many black people in England and ordered that they be deported from the country.

I reflected on how this would shape my practice and decided that I wanted to create a series of portraits that placed a black person, dressed in Elizabethan clothing, in a position of power - a portrait that would rarely be seen during this time. I hoped that the portraits would seem defiant and give a sense of a shift in power.

The title is a reference to a speech Elizabeth I gave in parliament that I’ve appropriated and used in this way to suggest that this history cannot be erased or “cured”.

Today we live in a thriving and culturally diverse community, however we’ve not “cured” the past and these images and my research were an attempt to discuss and question the problems that we face in trying to move on from this history and create imagery that empowers.