MÉMORIAL ACTE GUADELOUPE
Darboussier - Rue Raspail
POINTE-A-PITRE - Guadeloupe - FWI
Tél : +590 (0)590 25 16 00
Association des amis du Mémorial ACTe
The MEMORIAL ACTe is a Caribbean Centre of Expression and Memory of Slavery & the Slave Trade. It seeks to bring together a range of viewpoints and disciplines, drawing not only upon our history, the heart of the project, but also upon ethnology, social anthropology and history of the Arts.
The history of slavery and the slave trade will be explained using archived documents, images, artefacts, everyday objects plus visual and audio testimonials.
The MémoriaL, an ACTeFounder of Remembrance and the Future
Founder of Remembrance and the Future
During his in-depth policy speech on 26th October 2004, Victorin Lurel, President of the Regional Council, announced the willingness of the local authorities to participate in the construction of a collective memory and to encourage research on slavery, the slave trade and the abolition of slavery.
The aim was not to bring up the pain of the past to spread dissension. To the contrary, the intention was to transcend the suffering engendered by slavery and the slave trade so as to promote affirmation of a shared and somewhat appeased memory of the slavery era, an epoch greatly affecting the edification of the Guadeloupe society.
With this far-reaching international project, the Guadeloupe Regional Council wished to show its determination to expose all forms of slavery, whether past or contemporary, by creating an open space dedicated to the fight against oppression and highlighting the fight for freedom.
This effectively enshrined the ICBP's (International Committee for Black Peoples) idea of a Memorial, whose scientific and cultural project had previously been validated in May 2007 by the Scientific Committee, the Steering Committee and the Regional Assembly. Following the Regional Council's launch of the international bidding contest for prime contractor in June 2007, the winning consortium was chosen out of 27 candidates in January 2008.
BERTHELOT/MOCKA-CELESTINE (BMC) Architecture Firm is the lead company of this consortium. In March 2013, construction of the Caribbean Centre of Expression and Memory of Slavery and the Slave Trade began. Referred to as Memorial ACTe, it signifies both "memory to build and ambition to act".
A Caribbean CentreAn ambition commensurate to the challenge
An ambition commensurate to the challenge
The major challenge of the Memorial ACTe is to create a regional space that will become a place of remembrance, information, knowledge, historical and genealogical research and modern culture, not only for Guadeloupeans, but also for students, researchers and for tourists from all over the world.
The Memorial will be a highly symbolic place located in the heart of Pointe à Pitre's urban renewal zone, and will be recognised by its expressive yet practical architecture.
More than 150 years have elapsed since the abolition of slavery in Guadeloupe, yet much of the history is still untold and memories are difficult to share. It's for this reason that transmission of knowledge about the past concerns first and foremost Guadeloupeans.
Therefore, by combining the rigor of scientific knowledge and the fervour for group meetings, the Memorial ACTe will have a didactic function aimed at exposing this past that has been kept hidden for so long. Guadeloupeans are encouraged to fully embrace the space by means of regular visits, to identify themselves with it, to learn from it, and to make it part of their cultural heritage.
This project is part of a vision of urban economic and social restructuring for the area known as Carenage. To achieve balanced development, it is necessary to combine the needs of the local neighbourhood and the international expansion of the area resulting from the Memorial.
From the Memorial, a footpath leads to the Place de la Victoire and joins the University, a sign of the overall harmony and integration of the edifice.
Even though the issue of slavery and the slave trade focusses on the Guadeloupean Archipelago and the Caribbean context, it will still be presented in its global and millennial dimensions.
The issue is part of a global initiative of remembrance, of human rights and of freedom in association with other arts and memory institutions throughout the world. The Memorial ACTe is the testimonial of our thoughts on, firstly, the affirmation of cultural differences in the contemporary world and secondly, the search for a new humanism based on reconciliation and fraternity.
The challenges and ambition of the Memorial are commensurate with the spectacular, indeed powerful, impact that it has on the Pointe à Pitre seafront. For the general public, cruise ships, pleasure craft boaters and passing tourists, the Memorial ACTe constitutes an attractive location and a point of reference that will bring international recognition to Guadeloupe. Through its activities, whether direct or indirect, it will become an important factor of the general economy, and in particular, of the cultural, artistic and touristic economy.
It is clear that the Memorial ACTe is a project of general interest for Pointe à Pitre town considering the land development that has ensued for the requirements of the buildings and their annexes. In 2014, the department constructed an access road to the site; the Regional Council completed this by building a pontoon for the reception of shipping vessels; there has been the creation of a seafront walk plus the development of the esplanade.
It is indeed a popular site for social mix and diversity, created to welcome all people regardless of their origin.
The Mémorial ACTeMultiple Objectives
PARTICIPATE in the construction of a collective memory by disseminating clear messages in forms of expression showing not only the reality of slavery initiated by Europe in past centuries, but also the contemporary forms of subjugation linked to racism and all forms of ostracism. Personal and collective genealogical research will also contribute.
SHOW the most extreme forms of racism in order to condemn them in their existing forms in contemporary societies. Highlight the persistent grey areas.
TALK ABOUT the slavery era, colonialism, neo-colonialism to the present day around a historical, chronological and pedagogical backbone.
EXPLAIN the context in which slavery began using logical interpretation and a multidisciplinary approach. Foster reflection on the conditions which give rise to servitude.
QUESTION today's world, the legacy and remnants of slavery in our societies; the philosophical and social problematic of subjugation, resistance, crimes against humanity, human rights, universalism, silence, forgetfulness, remembrance, suffering, identity, racism...
• by creating an joint-university research laboratory within the Memorial, in collaboration with the local Antilles Guyane University (UAG), cooperating with universities and research centres from all over the world.
• the history and names of French West Indian families using genealogical research
TRANSMIT by means of relevant pedagogical tools, i.e., multimedia resource centre, conferences, seminars, shows, publishing
Collective memory is not built solely on history and speeches. Today, places and objects representing authentic memories still exist and should be seen; chains, working tools, places of labour, jewellery, artefacts, objects of worship, places of resistance.
A slave was first and foremost an individual with a story to tell, a collective story, a memory articulated through songs, dances, language, culture, traditions and rituals.
The ability of the slaves to escape the whims of their masters, to maintain their cultural practices and traditions, to find areas of retreat outside of their master's supervision, to create language and vernacular aesthetics is, without a doubt, a sign of their profound humanity in a world that negated them.
This oral memory will be explored and restored by the Memorial.
Promote the contributions of French West Indians in culture, reflection, artistic creation and in world affairs.
Foster reflection through research,
Produce contemporary works of art through workshops and artist residencies,
Nurture new social attitudes through a social activity policy.
GATHER & COMMEMORATE
Personal meditation / collective commemoration. Forsake the past in order to open up to the future and to new possibilities.