at home: Art in Context | British Encounters with Indigenous Slavery at Nootka Sound

Adam Chen (TD 2022), a Yale undergraduate majoring in the history of art and a Bartels Scholar at the Center, discusses works in the museum’s collections.
at home: Art in Context

Art in Context, the Center's gallery talk series, is now online. Presented by faculty, staff, visiting scholars, and student guides, these lectures are held on the last Tuesday of each month during the academic year. Each talk focuses on a particular work of art in the Center's collections, or a special exhibition, and takes an in-depth look at its style, subject matter, technique, or time period. The last ten minutes are reserved for conversation and will allow for participants to ask questions.

About the program

At the end of the eighteenth century, British and Spanish mercantile expeditions descended upon an inlet known as Nootka Sound, on what is now the coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Their reactions to the native Nuu-chah-nulth people and to the well-established indigenous slave trade on the Pacific Northwest Coast reveal the dissonance and nuances of eighteenth-century European attitudes toward slavery. Adam Chen will share several images of works from Yale and other collections to illustrate his talk.

Chen has previously worked in the European art departments of the Yale University Art Gallery and Seattle Art Museum. His historical interests include the eighteenth century and art of the British Empire. Chen is from the Pacific Northwest, and the topic of this talk is of personal significance. Chen is also an oil painter and carillon player.

Top image
Charles Hamilton Smith, Cheslakee's Village in Johnstone's Straits (detail), undated, watercolor and graphite on paper, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection