Posts Tagged ‘Charlottesville Virginia’

Memorial to the Enslaved Community

Thursday, May 29th, 2008


Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Charlottesville, Virginia

Historically, the obelisk is a monument to the dead, dating back to ancient Egypt. At Monticello, this form marks the grave of Thomas Jefferson. The root also has age-old importance and is a symbol of the opposing force offered by the past to the present, the mystery of ancestors, the basis for life and growth, a healing element, an interrupting object, a symbol of potency, and the gathering counter forces of strength and fragility.

Our design concept explores the relationship of artifact and root to establish a memorial to the slave community which was an integral part of life at Monticello.

In Concepts A& B, the root has been incorporated to the obelisk design and represents a people removed or pulled from their homeland and yet still growing branches. While all of the concepts use brick to represent the main house, the owner, and the white community, Concept A incorporates plantation artifacts that are intertwined with the root system to represent the tools and lifestyle of the slave community. In Concept C, the field stone’s original purpose is inverted so that the foundation stone which supported the living from underground now memorializes the dead from above. Stone that originally supported the brick plantation house from below is now a memorial that rests on the brick of the plantation.