FOR SIX YEARS, Dread Scott had planned a rebellion of slaves. The artist wants to draw attention to the fight for freedom led by hundreds of people of African, American and Haitian descent more than two centuries ago in the parishes of Mississippi, at the same time. Outside New Orleans.
Scott reinvents the uprising of the German coast of 1811. It is the largest slave uprising in US history. Yet outside the region, no one has ever heard of it. It sheds light on revolutionary action in the form of a collective performance.
What it looks like is an ambitious undertaking. Taking advantage of the art, history and support of hundreds of volunteer reenactors, primarily from Louisiana, Scott is organizing a reenactment of the slave rebellion today and tomorrow (from 8 to 9 November).
The road taken by the slave uprising is now populated by gated communities, caravans, shopping malls and a corridor of industrial facilities emitting carcinogenic chemicals. | Illustration to Dan Bejar, courtesy of the Rebuilding of the Slave Rebellion
On foot and on horseback, Scott and about 500 blacks dressed in period costumes, specially created for the project by sewing circles, recreate the revolutionary march. The re-enactment started this morning, roughly repeating the initial rebellion, which stretches 26 km along the Louisiana's River Road, from St. John the Baptist Parish to Saint John Parish. Charles. The performance will end on Saturday afternoon with a public celebration of freedom in New Orleans at Congo Square in Louis Armstrong Park.
Scott is collaborating with Antenna, a multi-arts organization in New Orleans, to organize and present the two-day parade. The project has a budget of one million dollars funded by individual donors and many institutions, including Open Society Foundations, VIA Art Fund, Ford Foundation, Surdna Foundation, McColl Center for Art + Innovation and A Blade of Grass. Internationally renowned British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah documents the performance.
THE HISTORICAL REBELLION was held from 8 to 10 January 1811. Under the direction of Charles Deslondes, Gilbert, Quamana, Jeesamine and Maria Rose, among others, the insurrection began on the Plantation Manuel Andry, a plantation of sugar cane located at LaPlace, La. Brave and determined freedom fighters, they were black and Creole and spoke English and French. They fled, armed with tools and some weapons, while going down the east bank of the Mississippi. Along the way, they burned plantations, were joined by hundreds of others who were also seeking their emancipation and were being pursued by gangs of white militias who had attacked and killed dozens of people in their ranks.
Chicago-born and Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist, Scott "creates groundbreaking art to propel history." An ancient installation entitled "What is the proper way to show an American flag" (1988) challenged respect for the flag and its symbolism and angered George HW, then President Buisson. In the NRA Recruitment Poster, Scott wrote, "Join the Negro Rifle Association Today."
Other works include "Burning the Constitution" (2011) and a 2014 performance entitled "The Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Based on Slavery and Genocide". In July 2016, as a result of the police assassination of unarmed black people, the artist has flag bearing the slogan "A man was lynched by the police today" in front of the gallery Jack Shainman in New York.
Historic Marker for Andry Plantation, Where the 1811 Uprising Begins in LaPlace, Louisiana | Reenactment of the slave rebellion
The artist Dread Scott (left), with rebellious actors of slaves. Costumes designed by Alison Parker. | Reenactment of the slave rebellion
Before the reenactment of the rebellion, Scott has been engaged for years with historians; cultural artists and producers; local municipal officials, organizations, schools and universities; and the community in general. He wanted to know more about the uprising, to formulate his ideas about the project and to obtain the adhesion and the participation of the community.
The main reason for the re-enactment was to explore how the historical uprising was illuminating the present and to determine how its revolutionary principles were related to the issues of freedom and justice that continue to dominate human rights and racism dialogue. in the United States today. mass incarceration, reparations, police murder, migration and repression of voters.
"The basis on which people participate and what this work deals with is that they want to embody that profound story of freedom and emancipation where people were trying to overthrow a system of slavery and replace it with a new society that does not. was not slavery at the time. its foundations. "
– Dread Scott
"The basis on which people participate and what this work deals with is that they want to embody that profound story of freedom and emancipation where people were trying to overthrow a system of slavery and replace it with a new society that does not. was not slavery at the time. its foundations. It's a historic event that obviously speaks to the past and the present, "said Scott in a podcast interview with The Art Newspaper.
"We are marching against the scene of modern Louisiana. We will walk in an area known as Cancer Alley. So imagine 500 armed blacks armed with muskets and machetes, sickles, sickles, sabers and axes, chanting "In New Orleans, freedom or death, we will end slavery, Join Us" , in a nineteenth century garment adorned with African drums and flags not the American flag, but the flags that people could have used to unite when they were preparing for battle, peoples of Africa. Africa and African descent. Imagine it is against oil refineries, or against green elevators, or against trailer parks, or against mobile homes, or against Dominos Pizza Huts, with modern cars. And this is the space that people can really see. This type of conflict between the past and the present is interesting. I think people will say what the hell am I watching? And it's a nice place to be. "
He added, "It is true that it is this rebellion where people were trying to overthrow and seize the entire territory of Orleans which is now Louisiana and to establish a African Republic in the New World, what you (the interviewer) had said earlier has changed race relations in the United States. In fact, it could have changed the United States and the world. " CT
LEARN MORE about the rebirth of the Slave Rebellion on the project website
LEARN MORE about Dread Scott on his website
To learn more about Dread Scott's slave rebellion in Vanity Fair and the New York Times
Listen to Dread Scott talk about the reenactment with The Art Newspaper
WATCH Dread Scott's TED Discuss how art can shape the American conversation about freedom
Dread Scott heard about the 1811 uprising for the first time while reading "In New Orleans !: The Heroic Revolt of Louisiana in 1811" by Albert Thrasher. The book inspired him to share what he learned and led to the re-enactment project.
Dread Scott explains the concept of the rebellion project and engages volunteer actors who explain why they want to be part of the artistic performance (2015). | A Blade of Grass Video
The artist Dread Scott (right) with another actor of the rebellion. Costumes designed by Alison Parker | Reenactment of the slave rebellion
Rebellion of slaves recurring during a rehearsal. Costumes designed by Alison Parker. | Reenactment of the slave rebellion
Rebellion of slaves. Costumes designed by Alison Parker. | Reenactment of the slave rebellion
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