Adjaye in Barbados

John Hill
7. December 2021
Photo: Screenshot

The same week that Barbados removed Queen Elizabeth as head of state and became a republic, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced the creation of the Barbados Heritage District, featuring a slavery memorial designed by Adjaye Associates, which released a short film visualizing the project.

The Newton Enslaved Burial Ground Memorial is one of three parts of the Barbados Heritage District that the firm of British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye has been commissioned to design. In addition to the memorial, the project located in Newton Plantation outside of Bridgetown, the country's capital, will include a museum and a major global research institute. In a press release coinciding with a press conference on December 3rd announcing the project, the aim is for the Barbados Heritage District to "serve as a cornerstone and catalyst for the ongoing development of Barbados' independent identity, culture, and place on the world stage." The project is set to break ground on November 30, 2022, coinciding with the first anniversary of Barbados becoming a Parliament Republic.

Drawing upon the technique and philosophy of traditional African tombs, prayer sites and pyramids, the memorial is conceived as a space that contemporaneously honours the dead, edifies the living, and manifests a new diasporic future for Black civilization that is both of the African continent and distinct from it.

David Adjaye

"Newtown Enslaved Burial Ground Memorial" by Adjaye Associates featuring "Massa Buy Me" performed by Roger Gibbs

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