We Have Met Before – Graham Fagen

We Have Met Before, which opens on September 22 and continues until November 4, is staged in partnership with the British Council. The works selected for this exhibition represent a conversation on the histories of Slavery, the Transatlantic trade, and its present-day implications. Graham Fagen is one of the four artists featured.


Graham Fagen, who was born in Scotland in 1966, studied at the Glasgow School of Art (1984-1988, BA Hons) and the Kent Institute of Art and Design (1989-1990, MA). He is Professor of Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee. He has exhibited internationally and in 2015 he was selected to represent Scotland at the 56th Venice Biennale. He lives in Glasgow, Scotland.

Graham Fagen

About the Work

Graham Fagen is represented by a multi-channel video and sound installation The Slave’s Lament, which was also shown at the 2015 Venice Biennale. The work is based on a 1792 song written by Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns, in which an enslaved man in Virginia expresses his longing for his distant homeland of Senegal. Burns himself had been contracted to work as a book-keeper at a plantation in Jamaica several years before he wrote the song but never actually departed Scotland and his attitude towards slavery appears to have been ambivalent, caught between complicity and revulsion. In Fagen’s interpretation, The Slave’s Lament is performed by the reggae singer Ghetto Priest, a Rastafari, and this brings home the song’s uncanny resonance with the lyrics of exile in classic reggae. Fagen’s work also acknowledges the Scottish involvement in plantation slavery in the Americas, which may be relatively well-known in the Caribbean but is still part of the unacknowledged histories of Scotland.


Originally produced for Scotland + Venice 2015, commissioned and curated by Hospitalfield, Arbroath.

Composer: Sally Beamish
Production: Adrian Sherwood and Skip McDonald
Vocals: Ghetto Priest
Violin: Jonathan Morton
Cello: Alison Lawrance
Double Bass: Diane Clark
Guitars: Skip McDonald
Drums: Lincoln ‘Style’ Scott
Sound Recording: Hywel Jones
Sound Edit: Laurie Irvine
Sound Engineer: Dave McEwan
Mixed at On U Sound Studios, Ramsgate
Cinematography: Holger Mohaupt
Video Edit: Holger Mohaupt
AV Advisor: Simeon Corless

With thanks to The Scottish Ensemble and On U Sound

In memory of Lincoln “Style” Scott 1956 -2014


Graham Fagen website: www.grahamfagen.com


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