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UW Students Meet with Martinican Artist Laurent Valère

Submitted by Emily G. Lloyd on June 24, 2015 - 11:05am

A group of 12 UW students participating in the summer A-term study abroad program Ecology and Empire: Language, Culture, and Environment in Martinique, led by French professors Maya Smith and Richard Watts, had the chance to listen to Martinican artist Laurent Valère describe the monumental concrete sculpture he created around the 150th anniversary of the 1848 abolition of slavery in the French colonies. The work, which evokes the captive Africans who died in a shipwreck just off the coast of Anse Caffard on Martinique’s southwestern coast in 1830, has become an important site of cultural memory on an island where, previously, little of its iconography referred to the history of the slave trade and slavery.