Memory of slavery


Places commemorating slavery in Reunion

Places commemorating slavery in Reunion

In 1998, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, the Departmental Council launched an ambitious programme of artistic commissions to pay tribute to the slaves of Reunion Island. The aim was to create a vast array of memorials to slavery across the island, calling upon the generations of today and tomorrow to continue this remembrance.

For this long-term project running over several years, five renowned Reunionese sculptors whose roots run deep in local culture, were asked to work on it: Jack BENG-THI, Gilbert CLAIN, Thierry FONTAINE, Alain PADEAU and Eric PONGERARD. Each of them was asked to create the different elements of this collective memorial, which were eventually to be spread over the 24 communes of the island, but which finally came to an end with when the first works were installed at the end of 1998.

Since then, on the initiative of town council’s and societies, other artists such as Richard VILDEMAN, David IMAHO, Marco AH-KIEM have been brought in to participate in this memorial following surveys among the population.

In 2018, the Departmental Council commissioned photographs taken by Ibrahim MULIN of the different works. The resulting photographs were donated to the Historical Museum of Villèle’s collection and then shared online.

Over time, all these works of remembrance have resulted in new public spaces whose conservation and preservation are taken care of by the town councils where they are located and by the populations of the districts concerned.

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