About the work

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Idealized, romantic depictions of labor often masked the violent and oppressive realities on which they were based. Sugar plantations in Dutch Guiana (later Suriname) have a brutal history. This engraving print by Dutch artist Reinier Vinkeles shows a white colonist being welcomed home to a sugar plantation called La Recompense (The Reward). The image privileges the colonial perspective, showing a pristine plantation landscape being worked by docile, enslaved dark-skinned laborers. There is nothing to indicate the horrors regularly faced by enslaved workers under colonial conditions.

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