Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Door of no Return

At Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, the 'Door of No Return' is often the last stop on the guided tour, where visitors watch in anticipation as the tour guide opens the door revealing  the sea where enslaved Ghanaians were led to waiting ships.There was no turning back when you went through the 'Door of no return'.

Cape Coast Castle is believed to  have been built as a trading Lodge which was subsequently enlarged until it became a fortification. The lodge was first occupied by the Dutch in 1637, and was captured by the Swedes later. Finally in1664 it was captured by the British who renamed it Cape Coast Castle.
This Castle served as the seat of  British administration in the Gold Coast until the administration moved to Accra in March of 1877.

Slaves were kept in the dungeons of Cape Coast Castle, while waiting to be transported to the new world as they called it, 1000 male slaves and 500 female slaves occupied the Castle at any giving time in separate dungeons, slaves were often locked up for 6 to 12 weeks, waiting for their turn to be shipped off to foreign lands. Conditions were not sanitary during this waiting period, urine and feces covered the floors of  the dungeons.

I chose this topic for my maiden blog because my maternal routes hail  from Cape Coast, and the story of slavery is very personal to me, some of my ancestors  were taken away on the slaves ships into the new world, and I will never know their names.

Today,  I look into most African American faces focusing on their features, and I ask myself, could they be from Cape Coast? or could they be part my family lineage? but the answer, I will never know.
In order to seek comfort for my self,  I have decided to start an art quilt piece called the  the 'Door of no Return.'

I believe that I will be atoned with the spirits of my ancestors  whose names I wish I could speak, and I know that this art work which I am so excited about, will re-awaken the ancestral spirit, and will serve as history even though taken away, still lives on.

I dreamed this piece in the works,  in shades of  red to honer  the lives that were lost during the slave voyages, and preserve through art, the  memory, for generations yet unborn.


  1. Door of no Return is going to be, no doubt a very moving, emotional piece. I am sure it is going to be quite an emotional adventure as it comes together as well ... with all it represents. There is much in history to not be proud of, and the whole aspect of slavery is certainly one of them. We need to never forget, so we never return.
    And She said Yes, is fabulous.
    Diana FB sent me to you, and I'm glad I checked you out. She is an amazing artist that I'm so glad to be getting to know, through Quilt With Us.
    I have some Portland roots myself, graduated HS there, and later raised our kids in Beaverton, where they all still live.

  2. Wendy, I love the "Door of no return" that is emotional and beautiful. You have such sumptuous fabrics.Keep up the beautiful works

  3. Wendy thank you for sharing this blog with me. The door of no return is certainly very emotional and the she said yes is so beautiful. I really enjoyed the beautiful work.

  4. I started a challenge quilt of the "Door of No Return" after seeing President Obama and his family in Ghana. My quilt guild was planning to visit Ghana a few years ago. Good luck on your "Door". I'll send you pics of my quilt if it ever gets finished.

  5. I was wonderful reading the stories that went with each quilt! I am an admirer!!