Masking History: Tourist Destinations Uncovered, explores national and international sites where a history of oppression and violence has been buried, erased or replaced by theme parks, manicured gardens and towns bursting with shops catering to tourists. The images challenge the viewer to examine the notion of “tourist destination” by bringing attention to the unfamiliar, unacknowledged, or willfully ignored memorial – often hiding in plain sight or masquerading as something else in spaces intended for recreation and relaxation.
Now called Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, this popular tourist destination currently includes a nature tram, zoo, café, and a place to hold events such as weddings. The “rising” of the plantation on the backs of enslaved people is the focus of an optional tour, separate from the “main attractions,” thereby relegating the plantation’s painful past to a mere afterthought, hiding historical suffering and death under the veneer of normalcy and tourist trappings.
An Iron Age water burial site that has invited archaeological investigations since 1886. Over the decades, skeletal remains upwards of 100 individual humans have been discovered within the spring. Remains are now housed at a Finnish Museum in Helsinki.
Duck Island, London, England
Located in St. James Park, Duck Island sits on land seized by Henry VIII in 1530. The land housed a 13th century leper hospital that was later dedicated to the saint.
Lincoln at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
During a dedication ceremony of the Soldier’s National Cemetery, located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. The site, in which Lincoln gave his most famous speech, serves as a resting place for over 3,500 soldiers.
The Basilica of Sant Just i Pastor, Barcelona, Spain
In 2012, archeologists uncovered the first mass grave of 14th-century plague victims to be found in Spain. The victims were buried underneath the sacristy at the Basilica of Sant Just i Pastor, located in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona.
Where the Levees Broke, Lake Pontchartrain, New Orleans, Louisiana
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the death of over 1800 humans left many to investigate the mistreatment of African-Americans by government entities and news media outlets before, during, and after a time of crisis.
The Famine Queen, London, England
Many in Ireland regard Queen Victoria (d.1901) as The Famine Queen, describing her lack of aid during the Irish Potato Famine. The famine resulted in roughly one million Irish dead.
This tree is a marker for the area where former Civil War Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan member Nathan Bedford Forrest operated a slave yard in the center of town. The area now serves as a parking lot to local businesses.