A nice cup of tea? an exhibition

A Nice Cup of Tea? is a new installation in the museum’s European Ceramics gallery.  It features a specially commissioned work of art by Enam Gbewonyo and Lois Muddiman – a spectacular explosion of ceramic fragments; and audio recordings of local people from Oxford’s Windrush generation and African Caribbean community.

With the chink of cups and time to chat, sitting down for ‘a nice cup of tea’ represents comfort for many of us.  But every sip is connected to the legacy of the British Empire, global trade and transatlantic slavery.  The fashion for drinking sweetened tea from China inspired the luxury tea sets in the European Ceramics gallery.  But behind this wealth was the brutal exploitation of enslaved people producing sugar in the West Indies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Details of A Nice Cup of Tea? Ashmolean Museum, 2019. Artwork by Enam Gbewonyo and Lois Muddiman- Photos: Emily Jarett 2019 – © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Created with local communities, students and artists, the new installation commemorates the 70thanniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush and explores the complicated histories and fascinating stories to be found in some of the Ashmolean’s European ceramics.

Tea canister – English, 1770. Stoneware, salt-glazed with scratch-blue decoration ©Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Details: A Nice cup of Tea? from 23 May 2019 to 22 March 2020 | Ashmolean Museum | Gallery 40 | Admission Free |

Read More: Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.

Related event:
Windrush Day | Saturday 22 June 2019, 12–4pm
Windrush Day celebrates and commemorates the arrival of the Empire Windrush from the Caribbean in 1948 and the contribution of the Windrush Generation to British life.  Join us for a programme of music, dance, stories, talks and tours.  For further information visit: https://www.ashmolean.org/event/windrush-day

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