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Label: indiegogo

Friday 04th March 2016Artist Spotlight: Alice Smeets & Atis Rezistans

On this week's edition of Artist Spotlight, we're going to look at the collaborative work of award-winning documentary photography Alice Smeets and a Haitian artist collective named Atis Rezistans. The project is actually not overly recent, but may not have received the widespread note that the odd mixture of haunting and downright weird deserved. Entitled 'The Ghetto Tarot', the project was an attempt to turn the images from the world-famous Rider-Waite tarot deck into a series of photographs using nothing more than materials available in the ghettos of Port-au-Prince.

Smeets recalled some of the stranger moments that occurred during the extended photoshoot. "There have been plenty of little, funny moments. One example: when we were shooting the scene of the Death card, I asked the artists if they had real skulls to place them in the picture. Five minutes later, Claudel, one of the artists and my dearest assistant, came along holding a plastic bag filled with skulls in his hands as if it was the most normal thing in the world to carry dead people's heads around.

It constantly surprised me how the artists almost always found immediately what I asked for. For the picture of the High Priestess, we needed horns to place them next to her feet. I hadn’t let them known beforehand that we would be in need of them. As soon as Claudel found out, he ran and came back a moment later with two horns in his hands. They never told me where they found all of the materials, they just happened to lay around somewhere in the Ghetto."

The end result of the project is a tarot deck with the created photos, which is available for sale for 35 euros on Indiegogo, the crowdfunding site that provided the funding for the entire project, totalling almost 50,000 euros.

There is an odd mixture of successes and failures in the images, some of which are incredibly striking and others which seem more like a lazy art school project - although to be fair, the same thing could be said of the original Rider-Waite illustrations with equal applicability.

“The spirit of the Ghetto Tarot project is the inspiration to turn negative into positive while playing. The group of artists ‘Atiz Rezistans’ use trash to create art with their own visions that are a reflection of the beauty they see hidden within the waste. They are claiming the word ‘Ghetto,’ thus freeing themselves of its depreciating undertone and turning it into something beautiful.”

Posted on March 04th 2016 on 04:40am
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