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OAS/GNT Sustainable Heritage Endorsement Programme

PHOTOVOICE PROMPT #2: The Only Things Tourists See

What do you see here? (Addressed to the whole group)

Five black canons                                      Rusted metal                           Greenery

The Caribbean Sea                                    Baby stroller                           Cloudiness/misty day

Mountains in the distance                       Buildings                                 Glimpse of 2 persons

Stone patterned ground                          Ancient wall                            Black wheels

Two black ships in the distance               A truck rim                             White/blue

Five white yachts in the sea                     50 shades of gray                    Pieces of loose rocks

Why did you take this photo? (Addressed to the photographer)

I took this photograph because Fort George, St. George’s, is one of the places that tourists frequent when they visit Grenada, apart from visiting the beaches.

What is really happening here? (Addressed to the whole group—alternatively what does the photograph represent?)

When we think of canons, a sense of security comes to mind that speaks of control and power and taking matters into one’s own hands. Besides defense, canons represent history and violence. Together Grenada’s history and its past violence, like some, if not all, violent histories, speak to the gradual unveiling of revolutionary events that are delivered to the rest of the world with specific or brief accounts that whitewash the grim stains of the past, while presenting more positive or neutral perspectives about the events themselves. This whitening effect, then, is symbolic of Grenada’s sense of focus that is coupled with its sense of hope to present itself in a good light as well as to preserve its cultural heritage. By the same token, the ancient wall that is located directly below the five canons hides what you cannot see. To a certain degree, by refurbishing the canon with new coats of black paint in the 21st century is not merely about preserving history alone, but also the refurbishment suggests that Grenada is also revealing its sense of insecurity that applies to both the past and the present, as well as the future. This sense of insecurity is indicative of the cloudiness or haziness that hangs above Grenada as a protective shield. So too, the indistinct horizon that lies in the distance, as it stares back at Grenada as Grenada stares out at it implies that the island is feeling a bit uneasy even in the presence of the five refurbished canons situated at Fort George. By and large, this staring match between Grenada and the dim horizon conveys a certain sense of longstanding tension that sets the two units apart in their respective spaces of ambivalent solitude. On the other hand, the two large black ships in the distance and the five yachts in the sea signify the presence of Grenada’s commerce with the outer world. Additionally, the land’s end that exposes the southernmost parts of Grenada is associated with local, regional, and international cultural integration and is related to Grenada’s access to the rest of the world that will lead to the more economic prospects.

PHOTO Title: Historic Security

Photograph Location: Fort George, St. George’s

Photographer: Joan Charles

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