UNVEILING OF THE WINNING DESIGN - International Competition for a Permanent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

© Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations, New York 2010.

Winning Design Unveiling Ceremony, Monday, 23 September 2013 in East Lounge Area at United Nations Secretariat

On 30 September 2011, UNESCO through its “Slave Route” Project and the Permanent Memorial Committee launched an international design competition for the creation of a Permanent Memorial at the United Nations Plaza to honour the victims of slavery and transatlantic slave trade during a press conference held in New York.

Artists, designers, sculptors and other visual arts professionals were invited to submit their proposals by 23 January 2012, focusing on: Acknowledging the Tragedy; Considering the Legacy; Lest We Forget. As a result of the call for project, 310 full proposals were submitted by visual arts professionals from 84 countries, five continents, representing over three generations. The participation of 126 female contestants is to be underlined.

According to the guidelines terms, UNESCO set up a Selection Committee which met several times and shortlisted 16 semis—finalist projects and a reserve list of 44 alternate projects for the Phase II of the competition. The proposals were singled out for their artistic quality and pertinence among the 310 submitted applications. The Selection Committee had an overview of the proposals and noted the best projects which met the selection criteria. This preselection was then communicated to the Permanent Memorial Committee for Phase II. The laureate is selected among these projects by an International Panel of Judges that first designated 77 finalist applicants to be interviewed in New York. The granted artwork will be proclaimed at the end of the competition on 23 September 2013 and will be awarded a 50,000 U.S. Dollars endowment.

This memorial will assist in fulfilling the international community's commitment to honour the victims of slavery, contained in paragraph 101 of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action as adopted in 2001 at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. This competition also highlights UNESCO’s concrete contribution to the year 2011, declared by the United Nations as the International year for the People of African Descent which also coincided with the 10th anniversary of the Durban Declaration.

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Other useful links:


Ali Moussa Iye, Chief of the Section a.moussa-iye(at)unesco.org

Virginie Accatcha, Programme Specialist v.accatcha(at)unesco.org

Tabué Nguma, Programme Specialist t.nguma(at)unesco.org





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