Sokari Douglas Camp’s All The World Is Now Richer Meets The Woman Who Refused To Dance is a video work created as a memorial to commemorate the abolition of slavery. The work was commissioned by The Diaspora Pavilion in Venice combines the sculptural work of Camp and the opera by Shirley J Thompson The Woman Who Refused to Dance travelling on a boat on the canals in Venice with a dance performance by Tania Dimbelolo, choreography by Monique Jonas. The opera The Woman Who Refused To Dance, is about an unknown woman on the slave boat of Captain Kimber in 1792 who refused to dance and is beaten and hung for arbitration. Although the unknown woman dies, in this new filmed production, All The World Is Now Richer Meets The Woman Who Refused to Dance, her spirit rises and reunites with her ancestors. The film made by Jane Thorburn, brings the figures and their multiple references to history of slavery into echoing with the current migrant crisis. The film and sculptures are on display until 16 November 2017 as part of an exhibition at the Venice Biennial featuring the work of 19 artists.
All The World Is Now Richer is inspired by the words of liberated ex-slave William Prescott, who said: “They will remember that we were sold but they won’t remember that we were strong; they will remember that we were bought but not that we were brave.” The work acts as a constructive and positive response to slavery, reflecting on the admirable aspects of all people. It invites viewers to salute the survivors who have contributed to the lives we lead today. Camp’s sculptural works were presented in The House of Commons, and then went on to Bristol Cathedral, Norwich Cathedral and St George’s Hall in Liverpool in 2012. They were then exhibited St Paul’s Cathedral London, 2014 and the Doge’s Prigioni Venice, 2016.