Joined Jul 7 2013
Photographer & Filmmaker
I took the above picture during my travels to the Elmina Slave Dungeon in Ghana, West Africa. First established as Elmina Castle erected by Portugal in 1482 as São Jorge da Mina (St. George of the Mine) Castle, also known simply as Mina or Feitoria da Mina) in present-day Elmina, Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast). It was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, so is the oldest European building in existence below the Sahara. First established as a trade settlement, the castle later became one of the most important stops on the route of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The Dutch seized the fort from the Portuguese in 1637, and took over all the Portuguese Gold Coast in 1642. The slave trade continued under the Dutch until 1814; in 1872 the Dutch Gold Coast, including the fort, became a possession of the British Empire.
Britain granted the Gold Coast its independence in 1957, and control of the castle was transferred to the nation formed out of the colony, present-day Ghana. Today Elmina Castle is a popular historical site. Elmina Slave Dungeon is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
It is my hope that my photography provides vicarious experiences for audiences to broaden their awareness and challenge any negative perceptions commonly held about people of African descent. I want my work to be a vehicle to illuminate intersections between communities throughout the African Diaspora to illustrate common stories of resistance, celebrations, struggles for freedom, and spiritual practices evoking a sense of the richness of African cultural identity. In providing glimpses of Africans and African descendants throughout the diaspora, I hope it encourages the viewer to study the full range of the “African” experience.
To be African or Black with the understanding of all of its ramifications is, in itself, a commitment to the unification and uplift of all African people on the face of this earth. It is a commitment, also, to take Pan-Africanism beyond its narrow base of Black Nationalism, to a concept of an African world union.
-- Dr. John Henrik Clarke