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Linden Place Museum Presents What’s Hidden Underneath

October 5th, 2010 · No Comments

Artist Elizabeth Sturges Llerena’s dynamic images explore New England’s complicity in the transatlantic slave trade.

Linden Place Mansion will host a special exhibition by artist Elizabeth Sturges Llerena titled, What’s Hidden Underneath as part of the museum’s 2010 Bicentennial Celebration.  Ms. Sturges Llerena will display a variety of artworks regarding the subject of slavery, which incorporate or imitate objects in Linden Place’s collection.  Watercolor paintings of Ghanaian women, sketches and face casts, which symbolize New England’s involvement in the slave trade, are juxtaposed with Linden Place Mansion’s original collection of paintings and antique furnishings.  Her piece What’s Hidden Underneath explores her family’s collective silence about slave traders in the family using a dress based on a 19th century design with the legacy of slavery made visible only by pulling back the front panels of the dress.  Also included in these displays is Elizabeth’s unique period dress which cleverly hides images of the Triangle Trade, highlighting this part of Linden Place Mansion’s and the Northern states’ often overlooked history.

Ms. Sturges Llerena, a descendant of Bristol, Rhode Island’s notorious slave trading DeWolf family, participated in the documentary, “Traces of the Trade,” when she joined family members on a transatlantic trip from Bristol, Rhode Island, to Ghana, Africa and Cuba, in search of the family’s ties to the slave trade. 

Artist and New York City art teacher Sturges Llerena’s goal is to confront audiences with the history and legacy of slavery and institutional racism and to encourage audiences to reflect, reconsider assumptions and adjust ways of thinking about U.S. involvement in slavery.  Ms. Sturges Llerena has exhibited at NYU’s Bronfman Gallery among other venues.

The exhibit will be open October 26 – November 13, Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Admission: $8.00; $6.00 for seniors/students; $5 for children under 12 and free for Linden Place members.

On Friday, October 29 from 6pm – 9pm, Linden Place will host a reception, performance piece and gallery talk by artist Elizabeth Sturges Llerena in the mansion. For further information, please call the Linden Place office at 253-0390 or visit

The Friends of Linden Place are enormously proud to sponsor this year-long celebration of Linden Place’s nationally important legacy. Their core mission since they transitioned Linden Place from private home to public space in the 1980’s, has been the restoration and preservation of their treasured mansion as well as the creation of a wide range of uses for their arts campus which enhance the cultural and educational life of the community. In this capacity, The Friends have assumed a leadership role in establishing collaborations, fostering civic engagement, and in the support of other non-profits.

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