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Have You Seen Me? transforms the 1980s “kid on the milk carton” advocacy campaign into a memorial for those lost during the Slave Trade
Have You Seen Me? transforms the 1980s “kid on the milk carton” advocacy campaign into a memorial for those lost during the Slave Trade
Have You Seen Me? transforms the 1980s “kid on the milk carton” advocacy campaign into a memorial for those lost during the Slave Trade
149 backers pledged $22,822 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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HAVE YOU SEEN ME? A MEMORIAL TO SLAVERY

$22,822

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We in the United States and around the world still have not come to grips with the slave trade and its long-lasting effects. This project seeks to build a contemporary memorial to slavery called HAVE YOU SEEN ME?

Have You Seen Me? is a work of art that transforms the iconic 1980s “kid on the milk carton” missing person advocacy campaign into a memorial for Africans who were lost during the Slave Trade. 

This memorial to slavery depends on the involvement of a widespread group of people - not just for the funds to continue production, but for the housing of the bottles. The memorial is the network of bottles in our homes.

During the 1980s independent dairy farmers in the US, created  the “kid on the milk carton” campaign unaided by the U.S. government.
During the 1980s independent dairy farmers in the US, created the “kid on the milk carton” campaign unaided by the U.S. government.

By putting the faces of real slaves on hand-crafted, archival, milk bottles, we are seeking to both repurpose the European obsession with pure white porcelain, as well as pay homage to the slave’s life – by attaching these precious images to a precious material we give the slave a dignified voice in a context historically unavailable to them.

Through the display, reflection, and conversation of each bottle, the world's first crowd-sourced memorial to slavery will be born.

Bottle photos submitted by individual project supporters.
Bottle photos submitted by individual project supporters.

Where Does My Money Go?

Project budget overview shown in percentages of our stretch goal of $33,000.
Project budget overview shown in percentages of our stretch goal of $33,000.
Farm No. 005, "Femo Farm", 2014, porcelain holloware
, 8.25” x 3.5” – Edition of 50
, Yoruba language of Nigeria (photo credit: Larry Rippel)
Farm No. 005, "Femo Farm", 2014, porcelain holloware
, 8.25” x 3.5” – Edition of 50
, Yoruba language of Nigeria (photo credit: Larry Rippel)
Farm No. 004, "Green Dairy", 2014, Porcelain holloware, 9.125" x 3.75" Limited Edition of 50, Yoruba language of Nigeria. (photo credit: Larry Rippel)
Farm No. 004, "Green Dairy", 2014, Porcelain holloware, 9.125" x 3.75" Limited Edition of 50, Yoruba language of Nigeria. (photo credit: Larry Rippel)

Who Are The People On The Bottles?

While the dairy farms depicted on the bottles are fictional, the missing people on them are real. The portraits are derived from historical documents depicting real people who were captured into slavery.

Wooden Yokes Used in Coffles, Senegal, ca. 1789; (detail) Image Reference LCP-16, by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.
Wooden Yokes Used in Coffles, Senegal, ca. 1789; (detail) Image Reference LCP-16, by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.
Image Reference iln595c, by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library. Source: The Illustrated London News (June 20, 1857).
Image Reference iln595c, by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library. Source: The Illustrated London News (June 20, 1857).

Why are we using Kickstarter?

To date, five unique editions (consisting of fifty bottles in each edition) of Have You Seen Me? porcelain bottles have been produced.

Existing Farms 001 through 005. See our rewards section for the bottles to be produced via this Kickstarter (Farms 006 - 010)
Existing Farms 001 through 005. See our rewards section for the bottles to be produced via this Kickstarter (Farms 006 - 010)
Plaster slipcast molds for porcelain in the studio (Farms 004 and 005)
Plaster slipcast molds for porcelain in the studio (Farms 004 and 005)

 To immediately produce the next five bottles in the project (numbered 006, 007, 008, 009, 010, in limited editions of 50 bottles each) and continue the project it has become apparent that an industrial-quality production kiln is required to make the process more efficient, cost effective, and under the complete control of the artist. We need your help to make this happen. We need to keep this project alive.

Farm No. 003, "Happy Day", greenware porcelain drying.
Farm No. 003, "Happy Day", greenware porcelain drying.
Farm No. 003, "Happy Day", 2014, Porcelain holloware 9.625" x 4" Limited Edition of 50 (photo credit: Larry Rippel)
Farm No. 003, "Happy Day", 2014, Porcelain holloware 9.625" x 4" Limited Edition of 50 (photo credit: Larry Rippel)

The main goal of this Kickstarter is to create a mass-production facility for the project to grow and make the global memorial a reality. This Kickstarter will also produce five unique bottle editions.

To give you a perspective on our Kickstarter time frame of delivering five new bottles in five months, we spent over two years creating the existing five editions (250 bottles) currently in the collection

Professional artist assistant Laurie Trok shipping bottles from Farm No. 002 ("Valley Farm") in 2014.
Professional artist assistant Laurie Trok shipping bottles from Farm No. 002 ("Valley Farm") in 2014.

With a new kiln, and the funds to proceed, five full editions of 50 bottles each (250 new bottles) will be ready-to-ship within five months of this Kickstarter campaign being successfully completed with our stretch goal of $33,000. If our stated goal of $20,000 is reached we will produce partial editions of all five farms. All backer bottles will be honored, produced, and shipped at the stated goal of $20,000. 

Who is Creating This Work?

THE TRANSLATORS

The project engages African first language speakers to develop historically accurate names for the people on the milk bottles (whose actual names have been lost to slavery), as well as to translate the text for Have You Seen Me?.

As each bottle is made, new translators are engaged, and new languages, regional stories, buried histories, and lost narratives are brought to light.

Project translator Barnabas Agwuocha translated Farms 001 and 002 in the Igbo language of Nigeria.
Project translator Barnabas Agwuocha translated Farms 001 and 002 in the Igbo language of Nigeria.
Project translator Abi Ibraheem translated Farms 003, 004 and 005 in the Yoruba language of Nigeria
Project translator Abi Ibraheem translated Farms 003, 004 and 005 in the Yoruba language of Nigeria
Enoch Aboh, from the West African country of Benin, is the translator for three (of five) farms for this Kickstarter campaign. Shown on left are the wooden mold forms for Farm No. 006 and 007.
Enoch Aboh, from the West African country of Benin, is the translator for three (of five) farms for this Kickstarter campaign. Shown on left are the wooden mold forms for Farm No. 006 and 007.
Fatima Diakite is the translator of "Dakar's Finest" (009) and "Purity Farm" (010) in the Wolof language. These will be the first bottles in the collection to feature embossed text and images on porcelain.
Fatima Diakite is the translator of "Dakar's Finest" (009) and "Purity Farm" (010) in the Wolof language. These will be the first bottles in the collection to feature embossed text and images on porcelain.

 THE DESIGNERS

As each new series of bottles engages with new translators it also engages with new visual designers and design firms to create believable brand identities for each of the fictional farms on the bottles. 

Larkin Werner in Alexi Morrissey's studio 2015 (photo credit: Michael Schneider)
Larkin Werner in Alexi Morrissey's studio 2015 (photo credit: Michael Schneider)
Design for "Green Dairy" (Farm No. 004) by Larkin Werner
Design for "Green Dairy" (Farm No. 004) by Larkin Werner
Design for "Valley Farm" (Farm No. 002) by Colin Miller
Design for "Valley Farm" (Farm No. 002) by Colin Miller

THE ARTIST

Alexi Morrissey conceived this project in late 2012 and has been working with a team of assistants ever since to make his vision a reality.

"Take A Letter", 2010 performance view. (photo credit: Rob Long)
"Take A Letter", 2010 performance view. (photo credit: Rob Long)

Mr. Morrissey has exhibited nationally and internationally, working both as an auteur and a collaborator executing projects with individuals, collectives, institutions, and governments. Mentored in ceramics as part of a youth offender program for habitual graffiti felons in Boston in the 1980s, he went on to earn a BFA in Fine Art from the renowned Kansas City Art Institute where he studied sculpture under the late Dale Eldred. In his graduate work at Carnegie Mellon University he published and exhibited with the seminal art collective, The Centre for Metahuman Exploration. At Carnegie Mellon University he founded the Big Signal laboratory in the school's world famous Robotics Institute where he created interactive artworks for NASA.

He has over twenty years of experience devising social practice artworks with diverse communities, and managing long-term, complex projects. Mr. Morrissey has received numerous awards, peer-reviewed grants and has a proven track record of strong oversight and grant reporting with large budgets. 

Why Porcelain?

Song Dynasty celadon porcelain with a fenghuang spout, 10th century, China.
Song Dynasty celadon porcelain with a fenghuang spout, 10th century, China.

When Marco Polo brought porcelain to Europe in the 1500s, the aristocracy became so enamored with it that they commanded their artists to duplicate this fragile and alluring ware. The process of reverse engineering this material took over 200 years – at long last, this deeply sought-after luxury item was readily available. Still today, most people call porcelain by its appropriated fetish name: China. 

Willow Ware by the Royal China Company, England
Willow Ware by the Royal China Company, England

"Fine China" has been traditionally treasured by Western societies for hundreds of years. Many of our own grandmothers had it in cabinets as a highly prized family heirloom to be passed on from generation to generation. That cultural memory drives the emotional gravity of choosing this historically relevant material.

Who Currently Supports the Project? 

We are not beginning from scratch with this Kickstarter campaign. We are now making it happen on a large scale. We can't make that move without your support.

This project has already engaged hundreds of people over several years. We are grateful to the supporters who have generously decided to collect the work and take it into their homes.

The bottles have exhibited at the Society for Contemporary Craft, The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and the Andy Warhol Museum. The project will exhibit at The American Museum of Ceramic Art from November 2015 through March 2016 in Los Angeles County. 

At the Andy Warhol Museum's 2015 "Exposures" series. Seen with Kara Walker's "Untitled" porcelain pitcher. (photo courtesy of the Andy Warhol Museum)
At the Andy Warhol Museum's 2015 "Exposures" series. Seen with Kara Walker's "Untitled" porcelain pitcher. (photo courtesy of the Andy Warhol Museum)
Exhibition view from the 2014 Pittsburgh Biennial at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (photo credit: Larry Rippel)
Exhibition view from the 2014 Pittsburgh Biennial at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (photo credit: Larry Rippel)

In the last two years, we have built meaningful relationships with translators, archivists, curators, linguists, historians, folklorists, African dignitaries, and community leaders. We have learned the demanding art and science of the 2,000 year old porcelain craft.

Alexi Morrissey presenting the artwork as a gift to the honorable Femi Ifaturoti from the Nigerian State of Osun in 2014 during his official visit to the city of Pittsburgh
Alexi Morrissey presenting the artwork as a gift to the honorable Femi Ifaturoti from the Nigerian State of Osun in 2014 during his official visit to the city of Pittsburgh

Thank You For Your Support

Alexi Morrissey and Team

Pittsburgh, Penna 

June  2015

Risks and challenges

The greatest challenge this art project faces is making a large volume of work in a shorter period of time than we have before. Creating hand-made porcelain has built-in risks; things warp and break, kilns malfunction, glazes and on-glaze lithographs fail, vendors make mistakes and raw materials are sometimes unavailable. We've experienced all of these challenges multiple times on a small scale.

The production-grade equipment purchased with help from the Kickstarter community will vastly improve our studio infrastructure, allow us to hire qualified studio assistants, purchase materials in wholesale quantities and sign with vendors at volume discounts.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Cone of thanks!

    A pyrometric cone used to scientifically measure the temperature inside the kiln during firing of bottles for the memorial. A memento from how the project gets handmade by real people. With a written thank you note by the artist.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Bottle Logo Design

    One fictional dairy logo from the first five farms (Farm No. 001 - 005). 4"x5" print.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    All Early Bottle Logo Designs

    All fictional dairy logos from the first five farms (Farm No. 001 - 005). 4"x5" print.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Bottle Logo Poster

    A poster-sized, advertisement for the bottle "Royal Palm" (Farm No. 008). Translated by author and linguist Enoch Aboh from the West African country of Benin.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Wearable Porcelain Medallion Pin

    A large, wearable, medallion pin of hand-made porcelain with a portrait of Oluaka from the bottle "Valley Farm" (Farm No. 002).

    Based on the 1787 anti-slavery medallion by Josiah Wedgewood. Hand slipcast in porcelain in the 3D bas relief Neoclassical style popular in the 18th and 19th century.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    One Bottle: Farm No. 006 "Allada's Best"

    Early Backer (LIMIT 10. A $400 Value)

    One bottle from Farm No. 006 "Allada's Best" from the West African country of Benin.

    Translated by author and linguist Enoch Aboh. Limited edition of 50. Handmade porcelain with raw materials from the English China Clay Company, Cornwall England. Limited edition of 50. Signed by the artist.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    One Bottle: Farm No. 007 "Dahomey Pride"

    Early Backer (LIMIT 10. A $400 Value)

    One bottle from Farm No. 007 "Dahomey Pride" from the West African country of Benin. Translated by author and linguist Enoch Aboh. Limited edition of 50. Handmade porcelain with raw materials from the English China Clay Company, Cornwall England. Limited edition of 50. Signed by the artist.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    One Bottle: Farm No. 008 "Royal Palm"

    Early Backer (LIMIT 10. A $400 Value)

    One bottle from Farm No. 008 "Royal Palm" from the West African country of Benin. Translated by author and linguist Enoch Aboh. Handmade porcelain with raw materials from the English China Clay Company, Cornwall England. Limited edition of 50. Signed by the artist.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    One Bottle: Farm No. 009 "Dakar's Finest"

    Early Backer (LIMIT 10. A $400 Value)

    One bottle from Farm No. 009 "Dakar's Finest" from the West African country of Senegal. Handmade porcelain with raw materials from the English China Clay Company, Cornwall England. Limited edition of 50. Signed by the artist.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    One Bottle: Farm No. 010 "Purity Farm"

    Early Backer (LIMIT 10. A $400 Value)

    One bottle from Farm No. 010 "Purity Farm" from the West African country of Senegal. Handmade porcelain with raw materials from the English China Clay Company, Cornwall England. Limited edition of 50. Signed by the artist.

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    Two Bottles + Wearable Porcelain Medallion Pin

    Early Backer (LIMIT 10. A $550 Value)

    One bottle of your choice from Farm No. 006 through Farm No. 010 plus a wearable porcelain medallion pin.

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    Pledge $700 or more About $700

    Two Bottles of Your Choice

    Early Backer (LIMIT 10. An $800 Value)

    Any two bottles from Farm No. 006 through 010. An $800 value.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Two Bottles of Your Choice + Cool Rewards

    Any two bottles from Farm No. 006 through 010 plus all five dairy logos from Farms No. 001 through 005 printed 4"x5", plus the wearable porcelain medallion pin.

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    Master Wood Mold Form Handmade by the Artist

    Original wood form used to cast the plaster molds for the porcelain slip casting process of Farm N0. 005 "Femo Farm". Hand turned by the artist out of poplar. Limited quantity of one.

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    Master Wood Mold Form Handmade by the Artist

    Original wood form used to cast the plaster molds for the porcelain slip casting process of Farm No. 007 "Allada's Best". Hand turned by the artist out of poplar. Limited quantity of one.

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    Pledge $7,000 or more About $7,000

    Two Sets of Nine Bottles (18 Bottles Total)

    Early Backer (LIMIT 1. A $9,000 Value)

    Two complete sets of nine farms - 18 bottles total. Have one set for yourself and one donated - in your name - to a public library of your choice to allow the public access to the work. Includes coordination, explanatory materials to train librarians on the work and archival preparation by the artist with the participating library's staff after gift has been accepted by the institution. Ships to the library directly from the studio. Includes free shipping in wooden museum crates for both sets.

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    Pledge $9,000 or more About $9,000

    Two Sets of Nine Bottles (18 Bottles Total)

    Two complete sets of nine farms - 18 bottles total. Have one set for yourself and one donated - in your name - to a public library of your choice to allow public access to the work. Includes coordination by the artist with the participating library's staff after gift has been accepted by the institution. Ships to the library directly from the studio. Includes free shipping in wooden museum crates for both sets.

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Funding period

- (44 days)