A report by Sahar Beyad for In Your Area.
Jean-Francois Manicom, the curator of Transatlantic Slavery & Legacies at the renowned International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, Merseyside, was recently awarded a prestigious arts award.
On July 6, Jean-Francois received the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres or ‘Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters’ by the French Minister Of Culture.
The Order of Arts and Letters is an Order of France that was established in 1957 to recognise significant contributions to the arts, literature and cultural fields, as well as the impact that individuals have made within this sector.
Jean-Francois Manicom said: “It is such an accolade to be recognised in such an Order and to have the opportunity to do what I love.
“To make, present and teach art, using it as a tool to bring people together, and teach them about historical moments like slavery and the impacts it has in the modern day. Art should represent today’s national values – of freedom and tolerance – the opposite to what slave traders stood for. I am lucky that a place such as ISM exists for us to explore these topics”.
Included in the distinguished list of winners are the likes of: T. S. Elliot, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Meryl Streep, Ringo Starr, Leonardo DiCaprio and many more.
Before coming to Liverpool, Jean Francois worked as curator of the Memorial ACTe in Guadeloupe in the French West Indies.
This was the first memorial site dedicated to the history of slavery in the region and it paved the way for contemporary Caribbean Art in the Caribbean.
Head of International Slavery Museum, Dr Richard Benjamin, said: “I am delighted to hear that Jean-Francois has received the great honour of becoming a Knight of the Order of Arts and from the French Minister of Culture.
“I do not know anyone more deserving of the recognition and his colleagues at the International Slavery Museum are incredibly proud of him”.
In 2015, Jean-Francois directed and curated the first International Festival of Caribbean Visual Art where 41 contemporary artists from the Caribbean had their works displayed.
He is also an internationally-prized photographer and film director.
Dr Benjamin said: “Jean-Francois is a valued member of the ISM family and his experience and creativity has taken the Museum on a new artistic and curatorial journey.
“A lifetime of commitment to the arts has rightly been recognised”.