A century of sugar and tears
Guadeloupe has bulit a slavery memorial centre on the site of a gigantic sugar refinery, believing it's necessary to acknowledge
Publisher: Le Monde diplomatic
Date Written: 01/08/2015
Year Published: 2015
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21913
Present day Guadeloupei s coming to terms with a grim past through the Caribbean Centre of Expression and Memory of Slavery and the Slave Trade (MACTe), a new museum and memorial built symbolically on a waterfront site associated with slavery, segregation and conflict.
MACTe is two imposing buildings joined by a central arch, under which are the entrances to the exhibition halls. Local architect Pascal Berthelot describes the design as "silver roots on a black box... [which] symbolises the historical events. It was inspired by the stone walls of the factory that used to stand on the site. This industrial wasteland has produced new life. We did not want a western-style library, but architecture inspired by natural forms such as tree roots." The huge Darboussier site, in the middle of the Carénage district, was a symbolic choice with greater political significance than the original site proposed, near Le Raizet airport. Darboussier was once the biggest sugar refinery in the Lesser Antilles, with a thousand workers, and from 1870 to 1980 was the economic heart of the city and the islands. But nature had reclaimed the site, and all that remained was broken walls covered with tree roots, the skeletons of trucks, old railway tracks and rusty boilers once used to concentrate the cane juice.