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Now We Sit With It is artwork by Liverpool-based artist Sumuyya Khader commissioned by The Reader. It will be permanently displayed at the Mansion House from 29 February 2024 and was created as part of Making Meaning at Calderstones – The Reader’s two-year project to uncover and celebrate the unique stories of Calderstones funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund.

About the Project

As part of the project, a team of researchers and a local historian set about uncovering links between the Mansion House, the surrounding park and the transatlantic slave trade. After significant research, we started to uncover a complex and nuanced picture, but no evidence was found to directly link Joseph Need Walker – for whom the Mansion House was built in 1828 – to slavery or the slave trade. However, metals, including brass, iron and lead, all of which the Walker family manufactured, were central to the operation of the trade in enslaved Africans, as goods that were used to exchange for people in West Africa. There is evidence that Joseph Need Walker’s father and his three brothers were supportive of the abolition of the slave trade. Their father was a friend of William Wilberforce, correspondence between them beginning in 1788 still exists, with some of the letters referring to the slave trade and Wilberforce attempts to have it abolished. Download the full report here. 

About the artist

Sumuyya Khader is an artist based in Liverpool working in a multiplicity of ways within the sector. Collaborating with major institutions, projects, publishers, social enterprises and artist led groups. Her practice is a combination of illustration, painting & print works that predominantly explore place and identity. 
An artist of empowerment, both through the combinations of text, colourful imagery and texture within her work and also through the action she takes beyond her studio. 
Her first solo show Always Black, Never Blue opened at Bluecoat Liverpool in October 2021. 
Recent group exhibitions include Refractive Pool: Contemporary Painting at Walker Art Gallery: a group show celebrating paintings by Liverpool artists, NAE Open 2022 and Shifting Perspectives at Leeds Art Gallery 
She hopes her art is an entry point into a wider conversation about community and life. 
Find out more at 

Sumuyya Khader

The Reader Podcast interviews Sumuyya Khader

In this episode we speak to Robert, one of the volunteer researchers, and to Sumuyya Khader, to hear about the process of uncovering and responding to this research.

This episode has been funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of ‘Making Meaning at Calderstones’ – The Reader’s two-year project to uncover and celebrate the unique stories of our reading home.



To accompany the artwork, we have produced an anthology which lays out the meaning behind the piece and the research findings in full detail.

These anthologies are available to purchase at the Welcome Area desk in the Mansion House for £3 or a donation.

“As in our Shared Reading groups which take place across the UK, there is no desired response to the artwork, but we hope that everyone who visits the Mansion House will engage with it in their own way and share in a moment of contemplation. The legacy of this project will continue to shape our work through what we read and who we read with, and we are committed to sharing books that help us uncover stories and voices that often go unheard, and to ‘sitting with’ those stories together.”

Katie Clark, Director of Literature
This project is made possible thanks to National Lottery players, with funds awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund