‘The Bus’ memorial for Ken Saro-Wiwa 1 Favorite 


Nov 1 2006


London England

In 1994, the human rights and environmental activist KenSaro-Wiwa was arrested and accused of incitement to murder. Eighteen months later, following a show trial condemned by human rights organisations, he and eight other leaders of the Movement For the Survival of the Ogoni People were executed by hanging, an act that propelled the story on to the front pages of newspapers worldwide.

To mark the 10th anniversary of Saro-Wiwa's execution, political arts organisation Platform, together with Amnesty International, the Arts Council and Greenpeace, launched a competition, asking artists to come up with proposals for a Saro-Wiwa memorial. The winner was Nigerian-born sculptor Sokari Douglas Camp, whose "mobile memorial" takes the form of a giant bus, made out of steel and loaded with oil barrels.

Since 2006 the bus has been touring the UK, stationing itself in areas historically linked to the slave trade as a reminder of the massive consequences of colonialism.

According to Dan Gretton, director of Platform, the idea of a travelling memorial was conceived as an antidote to the colonial notion of fixed, figurative monuments. Britain's public spaces, he says, are dominated by conventional statues celebrating the military, the empire and the aristocracy. The memorial is also large enough to serve as a miniature venue for film screenings and exhibitions. Platform is hoping its two-year journey around the country will kickstart debates on issues from climate change to social justice.

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