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10 April @ 08:00 18 April @ 17:00

Heritage project on St. Eustatius connects residents with their ancestors

“Men with names never truly die. It is only the nameless and faceless who vanish like smoke into the early morning air.” Edwidge Danticat in “The Farming of Bones”

Archaeological excavations were carried out on the former Golden Rock plantation in St. Eustatius in 2021. The remains of 69 ancestors of the inhabitants of St. Eustatius were exhumed. The inhabitants were not involved in this.

The project Remember Statia, Tracing Our Origins is a result of the protests against these excavations. It is a community project in which the inhabitants of St. Eustatius write their own history. This will be done by searching for ancestor heroes and ancestors in general. 

From archive to story to imagination: project content

The project consists of different phases in which 10 to 12 participants are trained and coached to use digital sources to discover their own heroes from slavery and to snatch them from oblivion.

The discovered heroes and their exploits are then immortalized in a work of art. In the first instance, this is a written story on the basis of which visual artists portray a hero or a heroic deed. But portraiture can also be done in one of the many art forms, unknown to the general public, that have a rich existence on St. Eustatius. 


Save-the-dates for the 6 workshops


Workshop  – The Journey of Family History Research  – How to prepare practically and emotionally?  Presented  by Kenneth Cuvalay, mental health professional

        Date: Tuesday, March 26
        Time: 7 to 9 pm (Statia time)
        Location: Public Library St. Eustatius and online Zoom


Workshop I – Understanding archival resources. Presented by the Center of Family History (CBG)

        Date: Tuesday, April 2
        Time: 7 to 9 pm (Statia time)
        Location: Public Library St. Eustatius and online Zoom

Workshop II – Searching the archives yourself.  – Presented by the Center of Family History (CBG) & members of The Alliance

        Date: Wednesday, April 3
        Time: 7 to 9 pm (Statia time)
        Location: Public Library St. Eustatius. 

        Note: Online participants will be contacted for a separate session for this workshop.  

Workshop III –  Summarizing and sharing results. Presented by the Center of Family History (CBG) & members of The Alliance

        Date Thursday, April 4
        Time: 7 to 9 pm (Statia time)
        Location: Public Library St. Eustatius and online Zoom


Workshop I – Introduction and strategy. Presented by Marvin Hokstam

        Date: Wednesday, April 10
        Time: 6-8 pm (Statia time)
        Location: Online Zoom for all participants

Workshop II – Crafting a personal story. Presented by Marvin Hokstam

        Date: Wednesday, April 17
        Time: 7-9 pm (Statia time)
        Location: Public Library St. Eustatius and online Zoom


We plan to have a follow-up meeting as well, but no date has been set for that yet. In any case, the presenters of the workshops are available throughout the duration of the project to answer your questions and help.

Results: a book publication and final performance of all the stories and artworks for the general public.

Project organization: Bigi Bon Foundation, St. Eustatius Afrikan Burial Ground Alliance (SE-ABG Alliance). St. Eustatius Historical Foundation, St. Eustatius Monuments Foundation.Project leaders: Marvin Hokstam (Bigi Bon) and Kenneth Cuvalay (SE-ABG Alliance)

Target group: 10-12 Statian residents with African ancestryFunding: Mondriaan Culture Fund Open Call for the Dutch Slavery Memorial Year (list of approved projects, check the entry “Bigi Bon”; webpage is in Dutch)

Registration and contact

Registration is open as of November 10, 2023 and applications are still welcome.


We are seeking 12 candidates with ancestors from our slavery past who are committed to telling and connecting their story with a work of art. Participation is free.


In addition, we are looking for artists to coach the candidates in shaping their artwork. The artists will receive compensation for their coaching.

Candidate participants and artists can register via:

Project Summary

NameRemember Statia, Tracing Our Origins

Building on: ‘Memre:portraits of forgotten slave heroes‘ (Bigi Bon) and ‘Make the Connection’,  Family Heritage project St. Eustatius (St. Eustatius Afrikan Burial Ground Alliance).

Duration: November 2023-October 2024

Invisible heritage: (re)construction of Afrikan heritage in the Caribbean

The initiators of the project want to raise awareness of the importance of preserving African cultural heritage on St. Eustatius. In addition, the heroes of slavery (many of whom are buried on the former Golden Rock plantation) must be rescued from oblivion.

We hope that visual, writing and acting artists will help the participants build a bridge between their art form and their past from the time of slavery or even before.

St. Eustatius

View Organizer Website