For nearly seven years now, photographer Nicola Lo Calzo has documented the multiple lineages and the various manifestations of the memories of colonial slavery, of the resistances to it, of its abolitions. He documents these memories because they create life, because they irrigate our present with wisdom and knowledge of the other that is essential to us. He made his own Edouard Glissant’s affirmation: “To forget is to offend, and memory, when it is shared, abolishes this offense. We need each other’s memory, not for compassion or charity, but for a new lucidity in a process of Relation. And if we want to share the beauty of the world, if we want to be solidary with its suffering, we need to learn how to remember together.”
Nicola Lo Calzo’s quest has brought him to West African coasts (Tchamba), the outskirts of Port au Prince (Ayiti), through the Mornes of Guadeloupe (Mas), the forgotten neighborhoods of New Orleans (Casta), the periphery of Santiago de Cuba (Regla), the banks of the Maroni River (Obia). The stays in all these places have been decisive moments in the photographer’s approach. He seeks to restitute the spirit and the beauty of the way of life of those communities that resist amnesia by remembering the resistances to colonial slavery, this criminal enterprise unprecedented in the history of the humanities. The photographer unveils the importance of living legacies that constitute the practices and knowledge of the communities that share this history.
These legacies prolong a history that has too often been ignored. They transcend the political boundaries of the present and remind us that freedom lodges itself in the cracks, in unexpected places, in the differences; it is humanity’s salvation to know how to celebrate these differences like rays of light that illuminate our present and our future beyond the disasters too often misrepresented in the form of a desired “modernity.” Each of the photographs in this exhibition is a homage, reverence to the beauty of the world when beauty remembers itself. This beauty of the world is all the more, as much in the way one holds oneself in the face of crimes as in the way of inhabiting the world in all the éclat of one’s difference.