France put out an open call to artists of African descent to design a monument commemorating victims of slavery.

Daria Simone Harper
Jun 11, 2020 4:15PM, via The Art Newspaper

Paris's Tuileries Gardens. Image via Flickr.

The French government put out an open call for a monument honoring victims of slavery to be built in the famous Tuileries Gardens in Paris. This decision was received favorably by the Representative Council of France’s Black Associations (CRAN)—a Paris-based advocacy organization—under the condition that the artist who is ultimately chosen to create the memorial is of African descent.

In 2016, former French president, François Hollande, announced the creation of a foundation to develop a slavery memorial and museum in Paris. In May 2019, current French president Emmanuel Macron confirmed the memorial’s construction. Louis-Georges Tin, honorary president of CRAN, said that the organization has put together a report detailing the need for a new museum, which they will present to the new mayor of Paris following the upcoming mayoral election.

Tin said in a statement quoted by The Art Newspaper:

Hollande’s idea ultimately came to nothing. A memorial is a good idea but a museum would be better. It is high time we had a museum in Paris; there also needs to be some kind of financial compensation.

The memorial is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021, with the winning artist set to be announced early next year. The Art Newspaper reports that individuals “in the field of slavery commemoration... and also in contemporary art and the conservation of historical monuments” will steer the project. The French state will own the monument, and it will be included in the national collection of contemporary art (Fonds national d’art contemporain).

Further Reading: Black-Owned Galleries to Support across the United States

Further Reading: Galleries Are Urging Collectors to Support Social Justice and Police Reform

Further Reading: The Overlooked Role of Black Women in Renaissance Paintings

Daria Simone Harper