Speak of Me as I Am: Chandelier Mori


Fred Wilson (American, born 1954)




Murano glass and light bulbs


70 x 67 x 67 inches


Purchase with funds from Lisa and Ron Brill

Accession #


On View

On View - Wieland Pavilion, Skyway, Gallery 421

Fred Wilson created this chandelier to remember the role people of African descent played in Renaissance Venice, a period that predates the Atlantic slave trade. Between 1400 and 1600, Venice was one of the most cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse places in the world. To learn about the role Africans played in this culture, Wilson spent months in Venice exploring archives, museum collections, local records and speaking with contemporary Venetians. The title Speak of me as I am is taken from Othello’s final speech in Shakespeare’s Othello: “Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate/Nor set down aught in Malice.” Othello is one of the few characters of African descent in literature at the time, one of Venice’s so-called “black” Moors. The word “Mori” in the title is Latin for “to die.” To create this chandelier, Wilson worked with craftsmen on the island of Murano, in Italy who for centuries have made typically luxurious chandeliers in clear and colored glasses, but never in black glass.