Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Last Door & Who is Ronnie Phillips?

Here I am again with another mystery find. A Matted Photograph that is Hand Signed in pencil:
last door
Goree Island,Senegal "Last Door" Ronnie Phillips

It is dark, mysterious and moody. Covered in plastic, so at first I thought it was a print. I find myself drawn to that small patch of blue in the center of the stone stairway, under the arch at the end of a dark hallway. When I removed the plastic I found a typed page:

Goree Island was used as a warehouse to detain human cargo before they left their voyage of no return through the Atlantic middle passage slave trading route. The Island (88 acres) is located four miles off the coast of Senegal in West Africa. Goree changed hands from the Portuguese, Dutch, British and the French from the 15th to the 19th centuries.

History accounts for the immediate sense of horror that grips visitors when they arrive to where this castle was built in 1786 by the french. The tranquillity of the island today provide a stark contrast that can drown out the distant echoes of death and suffering that occurred here over 450 years ago. Babies women and men were kept in windowless rooms. The men who didn’t meet the required weight of 160 pounds went through weeks of fatting before they were shipped. The door is known as the "Door of No Return”.

Because of the islands excellent position, 2 miles off the coast, it provided an excellent departure point for millions of slaves and shelter against surprise attacks from mankind. Some see Goree Island as an emotional shrine, rather than a slave castle.

Ronnie Phillips

I should be listing treasures, instead I’m on a treasure hunt for information. A quick Google Search finds Goree Island less than a Kilometer from Dakar, Senegal Here’s what Wikipedia has. I guess it is a popular place for political candidates, Both Clinton and Bush visited the island - here’s a news article from the BBC and the official White House transcript of George W’s 2003 Speech.

That's a ton of information to think about and yet this photograph captures the essence of this dark and lonely place. I'm always amazed at the information hidden in the treasures we obtain. So the question remains: Who is Ronnie Phillips?

He was a member of NAIA National Association of Independent Artists in 2005. Here's the NAIA winter 2004-2005 newsletter. Ronnie Phillips a photographer, mixed media artist and painter from Georgia was on the panel for The Ideal Show: The Aritists' Perspective. Here's the only picture of his work I could find online: Mixed Media