FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show An Underwater Sculpture Dedicated To Slaves Who Were Thrown Overboard?
An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows an underwater sculpture dedicated to African slaves who were thrown overboard during the transatlantic slave trade.
The sculpture depicts children but was not created as a tribute to slaves who died. A production assistant for the sculptor stated the statue was created to symbolize unity and resilience. Despite this, the sculpture has been interpreted as a tribute to slavery locally.
The post shows an underwater sculpture of people holding hands forming a circle. “At the ocean floor off the coast of Grenada stands the haunting underwater sculpture of 26 children holding hands,” the post’s caption claims. “It is a tribute to the nearly two million African slaves during the transatlantic slave trade that was (sic) either thrown into the sea or killed themselves by jumping ship for a number of different reasons.”
A reverse image search reveals the sculpture is part of the Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park located in Grenada. The image, along with information about the sculpture, can be found on the website of the garden’s creator, British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. Taylor’s website notes the sculpture is known as “Viccisitudes” and explains its features a “ring of children holding hands facing out into nutrient-rich oceanic currents.” The website goes on to claim the children are a “symbol of unity and resilience.”
Notably, Taylor’s online description also acknowledges the sculpture was “widely interpreted as a tribute to slavery due to the structural connections resembling shackles and the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Middle Passage.”
Despite this, Taylor’s team insists that was not the intention of the piece. “We can confirm that the sculpture is not about slavery and that it is about unity and resilience,” Jenniufer Roording, Taylor’s production assistant, told Check Your Fact via email. (RELATED: Does This Image Show The Original Statue Of Liberty In St. Martin?)
The statue, made of concrete and rebar, is intended to “depict the adaptability of children in any environment as the sea embraces them and the children become part of their new environment,” according to the Pure Grenada tourism website.