“Acknowledge the Tragedy, Consider the Legacy, Lest We Forget.”
These three distinct phrases individually and collectively were established as the theme for the competition and form the inspiration for the design of the permanent memorial at the United Nations in New York, in honor of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.
“The Ark of Return” memorial is a sacred space that is designed to psychologically and spiritually transport visitors to a place where acknowledgment, education, reflection, and healing can take place. The memorial’s exterior form is constructed in a fashion so as to reflect the image of a vessel or ship in acknowledgment of the millions of African people transported on slave ships to different parts of the world during the Middle Passage. Images of maps depicting the triangular slave route influenced the use of the triangle as a primary element in designing the memorial’s shape.