Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Last View of Home, Île de Gorée, Off the Coast of Dakar, Senegal, February, 2006

Perhaps this stone has been in this place for ten years, perhaps for two hundred years.

One thing is for certain, this is the view that countless Africans shared as they were removed from their continent and enslaved for future generations to come. On this small island near the city of Dakar they were held, on this small island their lives changed forever.

According to an entry in Wikipedia:

'Probably no more than a few hundred slaves per year departed from here for transportation to the Americas. They were more often transported as incidental passengers on ships carrying other cargoes rather than as the chief cargo on slave ships. After the decline of the slave trade from Senegal in the 1770s and 1780s, the town became an important port for the shipment of peanuts, peanut oil, gum arabic, ivory, and other products of the "legitimate" trade.'

Does the number lessen the horror?

While sitting on this beach making this image, visions of Africans shackled in ships and held standing for sale passed through my mind like a slideshow. One cannot imagine the horrors that must have passed through the minds of the people on this island hundreds of years ago, so close to the African continent yet destined to live in a land devoid of their people, their history, their culture and their language.

They were removed from their continent as Africans and forced onto another as slaves. 

Can one imagine such an experience? How does a language disappear? How is a culture snuffed out? How is a history lost?

The first few generations might have thought, we will never forget. How can we ever forget?

As decades turned into centuries, I imagine that these questions must have dissolved as well.

I can never come close to understand a single millisecond of the above, but can appreciate the view above, a view of the unknown.

For more of my work, and to contribute your thoughts regarding this project, please visit the newly designed website below, courtesy of Patrick Luu.

Halim Ina Photography