Smithsonian institution
American Enterprise

American Enterprise strives to show an honest portrayal of America's economic history including our country's use of slaves in the 1800's. The exhibition depicts the the economic impact of slavery on the US economy as well as the human impact this terrible practice had on the slaves themselves.

Three Resin-Hardened Figures, Painted In Gray-Scale

Completed April, 2015

Designer: Haley Sharpe Design

Client: Design + Production

project details

American Enterprise chronicles the tumultuous interaction of capitalism and democracy that resulted in the continual remaking of American business—and American life. Visitors are immersed in the dramatic arc of labor, power, wealth, success, and failure in America in an 8,000-square-foot space focused on the role of business and innovation from the mid-1700s to the present. Through captivating objects and engaging interactive displays, visitors can trace the country’s development from a small, dependent agricultural nation to one of the world’s most vibrant economies.

The figures we created represent a Virginia slave family being torn apart as their son is about to be sold to another plantation. A dramatic and tragic portrayal of a common practice, as children could be sold off as young as seven years old. The father figure boldly confronts the viewer, who is put in the position of slave owner, as he tries to comfort his wife and child.

The clothing was hand-made from period appropriate fabric, resin-hardened and painted in a subtle gray scale.

For additional information on the exhibition on the Smithsonian's website, click here.