Carol Sorhaindo | The New Block Commission

The Golden Crown, 2023

The Golden Crown is a new commission from artist Carol Sorhaindo that explores memory, reflection, time, and fragmentation.  During her residency at Wysing Arts Centre in 2022, Sorhanido researched natural dyes, and botanical histories in Cambridgeshire, in particular Cambridge Botanical Gardens and Wimpole Hall, a stately home close to Wysing, where she explored plants with economic and colonial connections.During this time she encountered the pineapple motif, which features in the centre of The Golden Crown. Pineapples in the 18th Century symbolised colonial power, high status and wealth, and were often displayed and grown on estates like Wimpole Hall.

In 2020, Wimpole Hall was named in a major report by the National Trust on its properties’ connections to the transatlantic slave trade. Amongst the Hall’s many links to colonialism, Attorney General and Lord Chancellor Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke (1690–1764), who purchased the property in 1740, issued legislation that removed the right to freedom of runaway enslaved people who arrived in Great Britain and Ireland. This gave slavers the legal right to enforce their return to the plantations.

Sorhaindo has meticulously overlaid her work with tangled fibres extracted from pineapple plants. The process of extracting these fibres served as a meditative channel for reflecting on histories, unravelling narratives of joy, pain, migration, trauma, resistance and healing. These fibres serve as a filter through which the world is viewed, representing veins, boundaries and networks, with each section holding its own fragmented history and narrative.  

Carol Sorhaindo is an artist who draws inspiration from nature, landscapes, and plants with economic, health, and ethnobotanical interest, found where she lives on the island of Dominica. Having lived in the United Kingdom and Dominica, Carol’s own migration story, entangled with transatlantic histories and the trading of plants and people, inform her art.  

Carol Sorhaindo’s Wysing residency was part of The World Reimagined Project, a ground-breaking, national art education project to transform how we understand the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its impact on all. 

The New Block Commission is a new set of commissioning from Wysing Arts Centre. Supported by the Art Fund Reimagine Project, the New Block Commission moves away from indoor, exhibition-based projects to a site-based approach that makes our work more visible.