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Himid has alluded to the meaning of this work: 'Two women sit in a small boat tearing up navigation charts: how many died crossing the water ... can the past be replayed ... can the future be different'. During the early 1980s, she emerged as a key figure in the development of a consciously black art in Britain. This picture belongs to a group entitled 'Revenge', which proposed black women's voices as alternatives alongside those of white men. Here she reuses the title of an etching by the Victorian artist James Tissot, which shows a Highlander seated in a boat between two women, but focuses on the women. It is one of several paintings in which pairs of black women symbolically re-address history.

September 2004