The story of the sea also needs to be thought about through
questions of race. By the 1740's, traders mostly from Bristol
& Liverpool, ports which dominated the slave trade, had made
Great Britain the world's leader in carrying human cargoes.
At the Festival, in different sites and through different media,
artists, writers and activists criticised the way in which
problematic histories of oppression in general, through
imperialism and colonialism, and in particular slavery
were largely elided in the event.
Annie Lovejoy's artistic intervention entitled 'stirring@the
international festival of the sea' (Figure 1.3) was a reminder
of the human costs of mercantile success in slavery in the
infamous triangular trade in which goods, slaves and sugar
circulated around the Atlantic between Britain, Africa and the
West Indies. From the 1640s, English settlers in the West
Indies began to produce sugar and imported slaves to work
on their plantations and British manufactured goods.
On Lovejoy's sugar packets - which were found and used by
visitors in the cafes within the festival site - Bristol was located
within these circuits of sugar, tobacco, cocoa, tea, spices, rum,
slaves and sugar. She also produced a postcard which mapped
the sites where the sugar packets were available on to the plan
of the Festival and so made this dockside geography speak of
the overlooked but central issue of oppression within Bristol's
history of imperial and commercial success.