Indigo: Cargoes and Culture has been created by young people from local schools and further education colleges, working with artists, designers, curators, the Learning team from the National Maritime Museum, and tutors and students from London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.
Using Yinka Shonibare MBE’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle as a starting point, the students used the collections of the Museum to explore the history of dye-stuffs as a commodity, particularly indigo. The aim was to make links between its origins, production and trade and the subject of Empire, with the Navy – dressed in navy-blue, indigo-dyed uniforms – representing the imperial power that protected this trade.
Participants explored the archives, the uniform collection and our galleries to find their own inspiration, and created their responses in a series of prints, photographs, illustrations and animations. Indigo: Cargoes and Culture, is the National Maritime Museum’s second collaboration with the Widening Participation team from University of the Arts London.