This essay focuses on the beheaded statue of Empress Joséphine along with visual and performance artist Sarah Trouche’s reappropriations of the politically motivated beheading, the Memorial Cap 110 Mémoire et Fraternité, and the traveling Memorial of the Names of Abolition. The study contends that these memorials encapsulate the entangled history and memory of the transatlantic slave trade and slavery, and interrogate the traditional definition of archives, museums and the institutionalized aesthetics of marble memorials. Hence, the statue of Joséphine is examined as a palimpsestic memorial because of the ideological repurposing of the city scape surrounding the statue, as well as Sarah Trouche’s meaningful use of her naked body as a theatrical canvass to map out cogent solidarities about the turbulent memory of slavery. The historical distinctiveness of the Cap110 Memorial is explored for its power to serve as an intangible witness to the Middle Passage and excavate from under the beauty of its natural environment traces of historical turbulence. As palimpsestic anarchives and post-museums, the Cap110 Memorial along with the Memorial of the Names of the Abolition foster post and decolonial performances of remembrance.
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