Reviewed by Kat Fournier
Photo: THE DOOR OF NO-RETURN, Democratic Republic of Congo. © Philippe Ducros, 2010
La porte du non-retour (The Door of no return) refers to monuments on the west coast of Africa erected in memory of the millions of slaves deported from Africa to America. Once they passed through the door, they knew that they would never come back. Director and photographer Philippe Ducros presents his life-changing trip to the Congo in the form of a multi-media photo-exhibition that converges with history, storytelling and landscape to become a haunting narrative related to the slave trade.
The event presents the story of a Canadian man who visits the Congo to witness the shattered world left in the wake of its colonial history. Two voices guide the tour: the male voice represents Philippe Ducros, the female voice represents his girlfriend who corresponds with him from Canada. In the scope of this piece, she represents the safety and comfort of home, and ultimately the naivety of the distant observer. While she stays home, reaching out to him through letters or phone calls, he is drawn further into a nightmare from which he cannot wake.