France-Guyane reports that on June 5, 2020, the Overseas Ministry [Ministère des Outre-mer] and the Ministry of Culture launched a call to the artists to propose projects for the national memorial for the victims of slavery:
“Nowhere in France’s mainland is there a place of national memory dedicated to the victims of colonial slavery.” Well, this will change. The ministries of Overseas and Culture launched on June 5th a call for submissions to artists so that they may propose their project ideas for a national memorial of the victims of slavery.
This project was initiated by the Marche 98 Committee [Comité Marche du 23 mai 1998 (CM98)], who supported the idea in 2016. In the French colonies, nearly 4 million women and men lived in slavery, from 1625 to 1848. In 1848, there were still 200,000 slaves in Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique and Reunion. “All these victims,” the specifications of the competition indicate, “participated in the construction of the nation. Today, it is the nation that recognizes them by erecting this memorial to honor their dignity and their humanity.”
This memorial, which will be located in the Tuileries Garden, should therefore address the humanity of the victims by entering their first and last names; recall the universality of the fundamental rights of freedom, dignity; and be a place of transmission, with a strong educational dimension, throughout the year; have the capacity for hosting a national ceremony; and finally, meeting the conditions required for both ceremonies and reflection.
“A long struggle for recognition”
“It is for us,” explains Emmanuel Gordien, president of the CM98, “the culmination of a long struggle for the recognition of the humanity and dignity of millions of women and men, our ancestors, who lived during the slave trade and colonial slavery, today recognized by law as crimes against humanity.”
The call for participation, broadcast on June 5, is for all artists who wish to offer a proposal for the memorial. They may apply until September 1. A pre-selection of 3 to 5 artists will be established by the steering committee. The selected artist will be announced during the first half of 2021 and their work should be completed in the fall of 2021.
The memorial, owned by the State, will join the inventory of the National Fund for Contemporary Art [Fonds national d’art contemporain] managed by the National Center for the Fine Arts [Centre national des arts plastiques].
[Translated by Ivette Romero. For the original (in French), see https://www.franceguyane.fr/actualite/societe-social-emploi/appel-a-projet-pour-le-monument-national-aux-victimes-de-l-esclavage-468936.php.]