The soul of Salt Manifesta 12 Palermo

The sea salt refers to the salt which enslaved people  refrained from eating so they could fly back to Africa. But it also stands symbol for mental and physical liberation. It refers to slaves crossing the salt water of the Atlantic Ocean on their way to plantations. It’s the salt of all the tears shed during slavery and colonialism.

The mountain of 8000 kilos of sea salt depicts the suffering, but also the hopes and dreams of people. With this work I wanted to commemorate the past, but also transcend it. 

Indigenous people believe that the history lies before us because we can visualize the past. A group of refugee girls sing the  slave song Many thousand gone. This way the past is connected to the current humanitarian crisis of bodies crossing the sea.

The public is asked to dig down the mountain and bring  some salt at home which is blessed by a Winti priest. ( Winti is a nature religion from Suriname) Together with family members, they can dissolve the salt in water, as symbol for solving the pain of the past and thus giving rest to the souls of their own ancestors. With the excavation of the mountain we dig a path into the future, which is behind us because we can’t see her. Digging together creates connection and hopefully we can leave shared wounds of a painful past behind without forgetting but with forgiveness.

For more info:

photography Francesco Bellini

 © 2015 Patricia Kaersenhout

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Made by Frederick Calmes

Patricia Kaersenhout
Visual artist