Community Culture Clinic

Portals Of Our Return

Mirror Images of Ourselves

…Was just thinking to myself this morning… that if the space is to have a statue, maybe an arch or door that be incorporated in some way, to connect the ancestors here to find their way back home to AfriKa … to connect back to “the door of return” that they erected in AfriKa. Tumeric tea thoughts…

Empress Zingha

In this Season of Independence, and at the cusp of becoming a republic, I reflect that we had just witnessed the historic removal of the Nelson statue from Heroes Square last year. Subsequently, in a “flow” that discussed what replacement, if necessary, would be appropriate, as EmpressZingha shared, this vision came to me. 

I imagined, round mirror-like doors/portals at various places throughout the city, where we see ourselves reflected, and through these portals we can “walk” through to get “home”.

  1. In Heroes Square, vistas of landscapes from African and Indigenous spaces are projected, whether present-day, reconstructed from our Pre-Columbian past, or reflecting the horror of our enslaved transmigration.
  2. In Golden Square, paying homage to the Spirit of Revolution, reflecting the times when people agitated for change. Scenes, heroes and Sheroes from rebellions can be reflected in this mirror as people look at themselves. 
  3. In Jubilee Gardens, once called the Shambles, the site of commerce, social activity, and the AfriKan Sunday Market during our enslaved period are represented.

Each portal would be circular, and each frame would carry images and faces of well-known and unknown heroes from our AfriKan and indigenous heritages. It should feel like and upright pool and when you touch it, it should ripple slightly. 

This vision pursued could satisfy many objectives:

  1. To create effective and functional “green spaces”.
  2. To pay homage to the Ancestral and Spiritual energies of Black people who came to be sold and to be transported to the Americas. 
  3. To activate and encourage spaces of contemplation for creative and cultural events, rituals and worship including that of an afro-centric and indigenous nature, spaces of reasoning, healing, gathering, celebration. 

The back of each portal could merge with nature and the aesthetic of the space, evoking images of large root-systems or organic wormholes. Plants and shrubs could be used in its redesign. Spaces along with the Careenage, Independence Square and Golden Square would become a “green” Freedom Park in the middle of Bridgetown. 

At each portal would be a computer-generated app, an algo rhythm that strategically connects facial features of patrons looking in to invoke scenes of our global and national narratives in the rendering of the images that reflect our ancestral heritages through these circular portals. 

The strategic use of certain trees and plants could also be planted or replanted here. Part of the mirror’s frame could also take on that root or vine-like appearance as living and intertwining – an organic worm-hole effect, leading to the mirror-portal.

Such visions attempt to disrupt the conditioning and repair the alignment and connection to our lineage and ourselves. Give us courage…

Culture Clinic is a weekly column crafted by Dr. John Hunte. It identifies the impact of Culture and Creativity in the Caribbean. Photography by Adrian Richards.

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