Our Eastern Cape Maritime Oral History Project was exhibited on Freedom Day as part of the SAHRA display! Janet Ranson, the professional artist working with the project team to create an exhibition, constructed a visual display of diverse artifacts encountered during the field work process by the research team. Bottles on a table filled with “treasure”! Visitors were encouraged to get involved and share their thoughts about the meaning of ‘heritage”. The exhibition is just a “taste” of what is to come in the main exhibition taking place in May!
The visual display consisted of various bottles containing artifacts countered in the field by the research team. Each bottle was accompanied by a label to invite audience participation and engagement with the concept of “Heritage”!
The bottles were as follows:
Plastic cool drink bottle of seawater – Label: Some people think sea water can cure all kinds of diseases. Others think the sea can cleanse their sorrow and pain. Some people say it belongs to all of us. What do you think of the ocean?
Jar of mussel shells – Label: For centuries, people who live on the coast have picked shellfish to feed their families – sometimes more than their permit allows. How do you think natural resources should be preserved?
Jar with photo of beads – Label: The man who collects them carefully prices these carnelian beads. Do you think this is fair? What do you think heritage is worth?
Jar of pot shards – Label: These are pottery fragments found on a Cape Town beach. Even archaeologists can’t really tell where they came from or how old they are. Do you think people need licenses to collect them?
Jar with pic of purple house – Label: XX turned to digging for beads out of desperation, and earned money to build this house. How do you balance financial need with preserving heritage?
Feel free to join the discussion and share your thoughts with us here too. We look forward to hearing your thoughts!