By the midpoint of my month in Barbados my research had, out of necessity, expanded beyond the scope of one man. I had originally thought to research the “cult of personality” I figured may have centered around Bussa. That was not to be the case. Aside from being more or less equated with the Emancipation Monument and being classified as a “national hero,” average Bajans didn’t seem all that concerned with him. I wasn’t exactly sure why I thought they might be. It’s not as though I walk around all day chanting “Thomas Jefferson” in a zombie-like trance.
Nelson versus Bussa Wednesday, Nov 16 2011
Alright. It occurs to me that in my previous post I forgot to include a link to the Bussa statue. This might therefore be as good a place as any to outline the differences between official history and public memory as reflected in monuments and aesthetics in Barbados. I do this by exploring two major concepts inspired by Greenblatt’s resonance and wonder: visibility, and accessibility.
The 1816 Rebellion Wednesday, Nov 9 2011
In the 1990s a Guyanan-born sculptor by the name of Karl Broodhagen unveiled his memorial to the 1816 slave rebellion (also known as Bussa’s Rebellion): a statue of a slave, crouched and with broken chains hanging from his wrists, in the middle of the JTC Ramsey Roundabout just north of Bridgetown. It was, to put it mildly, a source of controversy. Why might this be?