The French city of Bordeaux, which was a transit station in the slave trade, feared that racism was behind the defacement of a statue of African slaves that looked like white. Instead, the statue was mutilated with plaster by an art student, the city said on Tuesday.
A complaint was filed and the Modest Testas statue, whose original name was El Poisy, was cleaned soon after the vandalism was discovered on Monday.
On Tuesday, the city of Bordeaux announced that an art student with no racist motive was standing behind a whitewashed statue whose head, hands and shawl were covered with plaster. The complaint was withdrawn, but the city reported the unauthorized act.
“The student (said) that there was no racist motivation behind this action,” said a statement without identifying the student. He added that “this isolated initiative” that insults the arts is unacceptable, “especially those that honor the memory of victims of crimes against humanity”. Modest Testas, apparently Ethiopian, was bought as a juvenile by two Bordeaux brothers in 1781 and later brought to their sugarcane plantations in the Caribbean. The statue on the pier overlooking the harbour was inaugurated in May 2019 on the occasion of the National Day of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Their Abolition.
The French ports of Bordeaux and Le Havre, further north, were part of a slave trade triangle that sent black captives from Africa to slave owners across the Atlantic Ocean.
(This story was not edited by DevDiscourse staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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