Upright men, felled
"Upright men" The piece was destroyed by bulldozers on Tuesday 15 January 2013, at 11.30 am, upon instruction from the Minister for Culture of the Republic of Benin.
This monumental work was designed by South African born artist, Bruce Clarke, and erected on the Slave Route in Ouidah, close by the Porte du Non-Retour (Door of No Return) in mid-December. It was funded and produced by the Fondation Zinsou.
Created with the contribution of young Beninese artists following the "Upright Men" workshop conducted by the artist himself, it was the first work of a series, the next instalment of which is underway in Kigali, Rwanda.
On 16 October 2012, the Mayor of Ouidah and his council, which had been asked to help the Fondation Zinsou find a site for the piece, chose the Porte du Non-Retour, in order to "benefit from the development of culture and tourism" that this project represented.
On 16 November 2012, the "Upright Men" project was awarded the "Project supported by the Slave Route" UNESCO label because "it was perfectly in line with the project entitled "The Slave Route: resistance, freedom and heritage, the aim of which is to promote remembrance and to better acknowledge the struggle against barbarity and the dehumanizing of millions of Africans violently torn away from their land and forced into slavery".