The "Ark of Return" a Masterpiece of Remembrance and Triumph

A United Nations international panel of five judges picked Haitian-American Rodney Leon's modernistic and abstract sculpture as the winning art piece that will be installed near the United Nations Plaza in Manhattan in fall of 2014. Titled "The Ark of Return", it is a stunning representation of a slave ship, which will be hewn in immaculate white marble.

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The Ark of Return Celebrates Triumph of Human Spirit

Len, a gifted designer and architect, also has another sculpture piece on display in lower Manhattan, the African Burial Ground National Monument. Leon, during his project presentation, educated the judges on the symbolic intent of the ark. In essence, he said the piece invites the viewer to explore it interiorly and exteriorly, a place of meditative thought and reflection, as part of an educational and transformative experience. It is meant to be a conduit to remembering the past without the shackles of shame attached to it.

The island of Haiti developed out of the slave trade as colonizers imported slaves from the Congo and drove the indigenous Taino out of existence, although traces remain in the bloodlines of the Congolese progeny.

The competition was held to design the Permanent Memorial in Honor of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, spoke before a crowd of dignitaries and celebrities at the UN Presentation Event. She said the significance of the work was the journey of the generations of slaves, who endured great suffering, and ultimately transformative healing.

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Read more: united Nations, History, Slave, Slavery, History

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