Elmina and Cape Coast
So, now that my pal Mike has offerred me a show this Fall — arguably, to show off some of the many photos I took in Ghana — I’ve started to think about some Ghana-specific work that I might create to put into said show.
One of the most compelling things I saw and experienced during my visit were the castles at Cape Coast and Elmina. These were two of the BIG fortresses involved in shipping 90% of the American slave populations fron Africa to the Americas. It’s one thing to read about such things and another to see them — and not in some bullshit, Alex Haley Roots kind of way. It’s productive not only to visit the castles to see how the local English Governors lived, but also to visit the dungeons undernath the fortresses, below.
The fact of the matter is that in at least 2 of these fortresses, Cape Coast (English) and Elmina (Portuguese), the Europeans built their churches directly overtop of their slave-pits. And slave-pits they were — subterrarean cave networks, carved out of whatever stone it is that’s prevolent down there.
As I went on my tour of the place, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of congnitive dissonance the Europeans were indulging in to place their house of worship overtop their slave-pens, where likely they’d have to endure the sounds of their captives 24/7.
The floor in these tunnel-like rooms has been repaved successive times to accomodate for the blood and feces that inevitably crowded these spaces until they were waist-deep.
Hurrah, yet another triumph for Christianity and God-fearing supplicants everywhere!
But I’m thinking of creating some sort of sculpture to honor this stain of a place — perhaps an inverted church below some sort of large intestine, all hanging from the ceiling. That might be a start…
The rest of these photos are viewable here.