Ghetto Tarot and the Haitian Slums

Artist Alice Smeets recreates the Rider Waite tarot deck with Haitian people in the slums. All pictures copyrighted by Alice Smeets.

Voodoo is the official national religion of Haiti, but few if any Rider Waite tarot decks feature Haitian people or Haitian artists (let’s ignore the fact that a black woman invented the first Rider Waite tarot deck) Enter Alice Smeets and her fascinating photography project, “Ghetto Tarot.” She, along with a group of local Port-Au-Prince artists called the “atis rezistans” recreate iconic images from the Rider Waite with locally-sourced materials found in the Haitian slums.

The Queen of Wands “Ghetto Tarot” style by Alice Smeets.

I think this art project is fantastic. The recreated images are smart and offer a surprising glimpse of Haiti. Although the country’s impoverished surroundings are hard to ignore in these photographs, it is presented in a fun, interactive way. Yes, the poverty in Haiti is a crisis, but there is also more to Haiti than devastation and disaster. These Haitian artists’ sense of humor really made me smile and I wanted to share these images with all of you. Mondays suck. A little warmhearted irony can’t hurt. I originally found this story HERE on Design Boom.

All photos in this post are owned by Alice Smeets and respective artists.

Adorable, don’t you think?

5 of Cups recreated beautifully.

Alice Smeets writes about the project:

my aim was to create a very personal deck without loosing the different spirits of the cards’, smeets says. ‘then the idea entered my mind to combine three of my passions: the spiritual world, the haitian culture and people as well as the philosophical reflections about the dualities in our world; in this case rich and poor. moving away from the clichéd images of poverty, illustrating the spirits and meanings of the cards with a touch of humor in the middle of the slum and showing colored people for the first time on the traditional, old European cards to break stereotypes.’

The Ghetto Tarot project could use your support. They are trying to make it into a real 78-card tarot deck. They’ve met their goal, but you can preorder the deck along with posters and other prizes at their IndieGoGo page:

http://igg.me/at/ghettotarot

More about the artist:

http://www.alicesmeets.com/

@alicesmeets on Twitter

More about the atis rezistans:

http://www.atis-rezistans.com/about.php

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