Photo Projects

  • All
  • New York Colors
  • The Fernandez House - Our Afro-Brazilian History

Today

“The Federal Government established this place as a National Monument in 1956 and has failed completely for not attending to the maintenance of this house. Although the building is very strong, the plastering work, which is over 200 years old, is in dire need of renovation. They came around a few years back under the guise of fixing the house rather they removed the original wooden floor boards and replaced them with cheap planks.

Being a National Monument, we are not permitted to carry out any major work on the building. All we have been able to do is paint the walls.”

Today

The Slaves

“They had other rooms for their officers. The slaves were held in small rooms downstairs which have now been turned into shops. When the slaves were picked up from their traders, they packed them into those small rooms while arrangements were made to move them to Sugar Cane Island in America.  The neck and leg chains that are currently at the National Museum were obtained from those small rooms”

The Slaves

The Angel

“This building is over 250 years old. Looking at the structure, you would notice the Portuguese style of architecture. The Fernandez family was a Catholic family which explained the angel at the top of the building”

The Angel

Mr. Olaiya

“My grandfather, Pa Alfred Olaiya, bought this house from the Portuguese and American Slave Traders. It was built for the slaves that had been captured in the inner parts of Nigeria.

The captured slaves were brought down here and transported to boats at the Lagoon which would take them to the Sugar Cane Island in America. Many Nigerians were in the slave trade business in those days. They would capture people from other lands and sell them to the Europeans who would take the slaves to America or France to work for them.

When the business died off after the abolition of Slave Trade in 1779, the building became of no use to the family and they had to return to their country. The building was advertised in the papers as an auction item by the law firm, Irving and Bonner. My grandfather won the auction and this became the property of Late Pa. Alfred Olaiya, a native of Ekiti state who was at that time, stationed in Calabar.”

Mr. Olaiya

The Fernandez House

“The Fernandez House was built in 1846 to serve both as a residence and as a punishment house for slaves. The original owner was a slave merchant called Fernandez who was of Afro-Brazilian descent.

His father was of Portuguese-Brazilian descent and a slave merchant himself. His mother was African.

The house was (and still is) a two story building with a roof terrace. There was a backyard that was used for storing slaves to be sold and sometimes they were also locked up in cells and beaten as punishment.

When slave traders were encouraged to leave Lagos shortly after the British declared it their colony (in 1861), the Fernandez family left and possibly went to Badagry or another West African country to continue with their trade.

The house was subsequently advertised for sale and the auctioneer, Andrew Thomas (a Yoruba), bought and resold it to Alfred Omolona Olaiya. Alfred was also the god-son of Mr. Fernandez and he married a certain Miss da Silva who was Mr. Fernandez’s cousin.  

  -Afro-Brazilian Architecture in Lagos State: A Case for Conservation- Marjorie Moji Dolapo Alonge (1994).

The Fernandez House

Broadway Green

Broadway Green

Human Orange

Human Orange

Goodbyes and Yellow Cabs

Goodbyes and Yellow Cabs

Fire Truck Red

Fire Truck Red

NYPD Blue

NYPD Blue