Saturday, June 29, 2013
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.