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st enjoys the self-acclaimed freedom of distorting the reality in order to work out another reality that is greater and that lies beyond the capability of plain eyesight. J. M. Turner’s (who was an abolitionist) primary purpose was to draw the viewers’ sympathy for the slaves. But either because the limitation of visual art or simply because he is not one of the slaved society, he has failed to delve deep into the core of a slave’s existence that is his cultural identity.
But Dabydeen has to focus primarily on this particular but relative truth or meaning of the art, rather than simply rewriting it, while overcoming Turner’s limitation. Yet since a visual art is often subjected to multiple interpretations depending on the multiplicities of individuals’ viewpoints, throughout the whole rewriting the painting Dabydeen has to maintain a poetic abstraction of the visual imagery of the his poem. Indeed, for Dabydeen Turner’s art is not more than an objective reality, of the 19th Century, and a part of history that he interprets from his own viewpoint. Hence what Dabydeen deals more with the reality of Turner’s art is his subjective interpolation that evokes picture and imagination of a civilization out of an instantaneous portrayal of a singular reality that might have evaded Turner’s eye, that is, J. M. Turner as well as his society fails to perceive the cultural identity of the slaves. Dabydeen has tried to evoke a cultural identity out of the forgotten past. Dabydeen views that the slave thrown into the sea is floating for “centuries”, and his memory of his origin has faded away, though not completely.
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