• Passages: The Door of No Return and Limitation into Freedom

    Lindsay Tan, Taneshia W. Albert (see profile)
    Research, Learning and scholarship, Interior architecture, Historic buildings, Photography, Artistic
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    The Slave House on Gorée Island serves as an important architectural artifact to those identifying within the Black diaspora. The keystone symbol within this space is the Door of No Return; arguably the living monument to the public memory of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (Ciocea & Cârlan, 2015). Through its passage, with the movement of time and activity, is the point of fracture where Black ancestors were stripped of their home and identity (Marcus, 1995) and sense of belonging (Claudia, 2016). In this creative scholarship, the authors will engage the audience in a visual exploration of The Door of No Return, through the lens of the primary author, a Black scholar with African ancestry. Each entryway into The Slave House separated humans from their African identity and linked their descendants to this space by the indistinguishable melanin of their skin; thus transcending the mere architectural function as shelter and division of space and transforming the house into a national identity for the new nationless. By passing through each room in The Slave House, the enslaved were forever transformed into something neither fully of where they were nor of where they landed. This commonly shared past, based in the historical trauma of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, anchors those in the Black diaspora to this place and to this identity. Each architectural feature represents not only the historical trauma and cultural memory developed through forced separation but also the complex and specific relationship between space and how those in the Black diaspora use and claim space then and now. The Door of No Return presents itself as the portal to infinite space designed to separate “the bounded and the boundaryless”. It stands as the last symbol of identity and belonging for those interconnected by a traumatic ancestral past forged through the middle passage but beginning in this space.
    IDEC South Regional Conference, 2018; Creative Scholarship
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    Conference proceeding    
    Last Updated:
    11 months ago
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