La Porte Du Non Retour (The Gate of No Return) (Ouidah, Benin)


Dublin Core


La Porte Du Non Retour (The Gate of No Return) (Ouidah, Benin)


Subject (Topic)
Public art
Public sculpture
Slave trade
Slave trade--Africa--History
Slave trade--Benin--Ouidah--History

Subject (Object Type)
Commemorative sculpture
Memorial Arches


Located on the sandy shores of Ouidah, Benin, the monumental concrete red, white, and yellow-painted gate and the metallic sculptures that flank it, commemorate the horrors of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The memorial gate, which marks the point where African captives were forced onto transatlantic slave ships, is connected by a path, known as the “Slave Route,” to the market square, where enslaved people were once sold. The memorial arche is embellished with a frieze, depicting two lines of enslaved people bound at their hands and chained together as they walk towards waiting ships. The columns are adorned with sculptures depicting men and women captives, their extremities bound, as they kneel and await their fate in Portuguese-built forts. The back of the gate is adorned with depictions of their native towns. Yves Ahouangnimon was the architect for the project; Fortuné Bandiera created figures and bas reliefs on the columns; Yves Apollinaire Pèdé created the bas-reliefs on the center arch and two free-standing egungun; and Dominique Kouas created the copper statues.


Ahouangnimon, Yves
Bandiera, Fortuné, 1953-
Kouas, Dominique, 1952-
Pèdé, Yves Apollinaire, 1959-


Dedicated: November 30, 1995


Gouvernement de la République du Bénin and UNESCO.


Gouvernement de la République du Bénin






Visual Arts-Sculpture


Route des Escalves, Ouidah, Benin

Has Part

Inscription on marble plaque on right side of arch:
Ce Monument Commemoratif
A Ete Inauguree Le 30-11-95
Par Son Excellence
Le President Nicephore Dieudonne Soglo
Et Le Directeur General De L'UNESCO
Monsieur Federico Mayor
A L'Occasion De La Celebration De L'Annee 1995
Comme L' Annee Internationale De La Tolerance

Inscription on marble plaque on left side of arch:
LA PORTE du NON retour
--Ses Figurines et ses bas-relief en colonnes
d'esclaves a été conue et réalisée
par Fortuné Bandeira
--L'agencament ou terrassement
par l'Architect Ahouangnimon Yves
--Les Statues en cuivre rouge
par Gnonnou Dominique Kouass
--Les bas-relief du mur de ceinture et
les deux Statues répresentant des
Egun-Egun (Esprit des esclaves)
par Yves Kpede
-Sous la présidence du Ministre d'Etat
Désiré Vieyra
et la coordination de
Mr. Noureini Tidjani-Serpos




Concrete; Cement; Copper

Bibliographic Citation

Araujo, Ana Lucia Araujo. "Political Uses of Memories of Slavery in the Republic of Benin." History in Focus, Issue 12: Slavery, Spring 2007. Accessed May 13, 2019,

Akhtar, Saima and David H. Colmenares. "The Slaving Port of Ouidah and Monumental Discourse around the Atlantic Perimeter." Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices, January 27, 2016. Accessed May 13, 2019,

Rights Holder

Renée Ater

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Sculpture; Memorial Arch


Ahouangnimon, Yves et al., “La Porte Du Non Retour (The Gate of No Return) (Ouidah, Benin),” Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past, accessed July 20, 2024,