The process went through six public voting sessions, which he chose among the creations designed by the three participating artists - Grada Kilomba (Portugal), Jaime Lauriano (Brazil) and Kiluanji Kia Henda (Angola). The Angolan artist's project won with 77 votes, for a total of 132.
From his name ‘Plantation - Prosperity and Nightmare’, he intends to ‘address the memory of slavery as the presence of an absence’, says the summary of the project on the memorial page. According to the artist, sugar cane was once the “white gold” that was at the origin of the compulsory slave trade.
Thus, at Largo José Saramago (Campo das Cebolas), in Lisbon, Kiluanji wants to build a 'plantation' with 540 sugar canes in black aluminum, each one will be three meters high. Between the cane feet there are regular intervals, “an invitation to walk and reflect”. In the center there will be a small amphitheater, as if a “meeting point”.
According to the project, it is expected that this will be “a point of sociability for the most varied cultural manifestations, from music to small street shows, from academic dialogues to theater readings”. “The project aims to build a place of memory, open to reflection,” says the artist.
The creation of a memorial that pays homage to the millions of people enslaved by the Portuguese empire was proposed to the Participatory Budget of Lisbon (OP) in 2017 by Djass - Associação de Afrodescendentes, through an application submitted by Beatriz Gomes Dias, then president of the Board of Directors of Association. On November 27, 2017, the proposal was announced as one of the winning projects of that Lisbon City Council (CML) initiative, which included it in its budget.
The main objective of the Memorial is to pay tribute to the memory of the millions of Africans enslaved by Portugal throughout its history, namely between the 15th and 19th centuries.