Channeling of Ms. Sybby Grant at The Walters Art Gallery
By: Marvin Roxas
On January 24th, 2019 members of the Nu World Art Ensemble performed an immersive production based on the life of the enslaved Baltimore cook Ms. Sybby Grant. The Walters Art Gallery went through the process of confronting the history of utilizing buildings that were former slave-holding estates. A letter written on December 6, 1861 to her imprisoned maste showcases a micro-history of Union-occupied Baltimore.
The Baltimore Sun article details more about the background and details of the letter and the renovation of the mansion formerly known as Hackerman House. During the opening performance, members of the Nu World Art Ensemble recreated the atmosphere of Hackerman House and portrayed the tasks and lives of Ms. Sybby Grant and her fellow enslaved maids, cooks, and workers. This unique production brought to life the the words of Ms. Sybby Grant and transported museum patrons back to 1860’s Baltimore.