Restaging the Tarot: Photographer Alice Smeets in Haiti

A tableu project enlivens Haitian streets with prescient symbols and participative art.

Photographs by Alice Smeets in collaboration with Atiz Rezistans

In 1909, Pamela Colman Smith designed a tarot deck for occult writer Arthur Edward Waite. In it, she clustered medieval scenes and mystic images. These haloed and crowned humans, goblets strewn on the ground, and sword-pierced hearts were made for interpretation.

Smith’s painted sketches make their way to 2015, in Haiti. Only here, the set made for prophecies becomes a tableu of the now.

Photographs by Alice Smeets in collaboration with Atiz Rezistans

Belgian photographer Alice Smeets worked with Haitian group Atiz Rezistans to reenact the tarot cards using materials found in a Port-au-Prince neighborhood. Smeets decided to call it “The Ghetto Tarot” to start meaningful conversations about social stratification. How has the word ghetto changed over the years? What are unseen aspects of poverty — of the people who create and live in spite of it?

Photographs by Alice Smeets in collaboration with Atiz Rezistans

Stay tuned for Lomography’s interview with Alice Smeets about the changing modes of documentary photography.


Originally published at www.lomography.com