These Things Matter: Empire, Exploitation and Everyday Racism

About the exhibition

These Things Matter: Empire, Exploitation and Everyday Racism is a startling new exhibition exploring the devastating and long-term effects of the British Empire, curated in partnership with the Museum of Colour (MoC) and Oxford-based charity Fusion Arts.

Available globally through the MoC's digital platform and in person at the Weston Library, These Things Matter shows how every day communications maintained the British Empire and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Discover how maps, letters and even the Bible were edited deliberately to manipulate millions of people and to justify the value of trading African bodies.

The exhibition features selected artefacts from the Bodleian Libraries' colonial collections, alongside seven contemporary responses from artists selected by the MoC and Fusion Arts: Bunmi Ogunsiji, Grace Lee, Amina Atiq, Dirty Freud, Nilupa Yasmin, Mahdy Abo Bahat and Johannah Latchem. Each installation examines an artefact through a 21st-century lens and is a raw and, at times, brutal illustration of the artist’s personal response.

These Things Matter runs in Blackwell Hall at the Weston Library and online through the Museum of Colour.

About the artists


Amina Atiq is a Yemeni poet, performance artist, creative- cultural practitioner and award-winning community activist. She is an anti- racism advisory member with Curious Minds, Artist Fellow at DaDaFest and Social Cohesion Fellow Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Residency 2022.


Bunmi Ogunsiji is a re-emerging British-Nigerian writer living in London. Exploration of Heritage and the ‘troublesome’ intersection of race, age and gender are at the heart of her creative practice.


Dirty Freud are an electronic live and recording outfit who met in Niche Sheffield, then moved into the bassline scene. They found success after moving back to the North of England. The music contains elements of dubstep, 2-step garage, bassline. It is simply Dirty Cinematic Electronica.


Grace (SOME.GAL) is a multidisciplinary artist and Digital Art Curator from Sheffield. Her practice is experimental; incorporating mixed media including painting, animation, costume, video, sound design and installation. Grace has a desire to create work which honours figures and narratives hidden from the mainstream.


Johannah Latchem is a UK artist who completed her post-doctorate at Oxford University, and her PhD in Fine Art/Art History at Newcastle University. Her work responds to contentious historic artefacts in national institutional collections.


Mahdy Abo Bahat is a UK-based Egyptian artist-filmmaker with a practice rooted in installations and found objects. His work aims to summon ghosts of the repressed past and future against the dreamworks of colonialism.


Nilupa Yasmin is an artist and educator. She explores the principles of art and craft and is interested in the notion of culture, self-identity, and anthropology in her practice.


In partnership with the Museum of Colour (MoC) and Fusion Arts.

The logo of the Museum of Colour
Fusion Arts logo: The words 'FusionArts' in a yellow circle

Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and People’s Palace Projects.

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