Statue of Toussaint Louverture – La Rochelle, France - Atlas Obscura

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Statue of Toussaint Louverture

Musée du Nouveau Monde
La Rochelle, France

This statue by a foremost African sculptor presents the leader in Haiti's independence struggle as a heroic figure contemplating his fledgling nation's constitution. 


A striking larger-than-life statue of Toussaint Louverture (1743–1803) presents the Haitian leader of his nation’s independence movement as a thoughtful political leader rather than as a military hero.

The bronze statue by Senegalese sculptor Ousmane Sow (1936–2016) is likely one of the few pieces of sculpture in Europe created by an African artist. By portraying Louverture in a blue jacket, white pants, and a red sash, Sow presents the leader as the Frenchman that he always saw himself to be.

In an era in which the removal of statues excites controversy and conflict, it is moving to find a relatively new installation that brings marginalized and misrepresented people and movements to our attention.

Fittingly, the statue, which was inaugurated in 2015, stands in the courtyard of La Rochelle’s Museé du Nouveau Monde (New World Museum), housed in the mansion occupied from 1772 to 1974 by members of a family that made a fortune in the slave trade.  

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