alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti
may 12, 2015

alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti

alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti
all images © alice smeets

 

 

 

since the late 18th century, tarot cards have been used by mystics and curious commoners alike as a pathway to mental and spiritual answers. the rider-waite deck — originally designed in 1909 by artist pamela colman smith — is one of the best known illustrative examples to depict the set of supernatural scenes. with smith’s drawings in mind, belgian photographer alice smeets set out to recreate the spirit of the cards in reality, using the backdrop of haiti, found materials and the local community in the project’s realization.

alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti
the ‘9 of swords’ is recreated in a red-painted bedroom

 

 

 

‘the ghetto tarot’ is a photographic interpretation of the traditional tarot deck, replicated together with a group of artists called ‘atis rezistans’ in the haitian slums of port-au-prince, using only locally sourced materials. for example, the lantern seen in ‘the hermit’ is created out of a old metal can and the black cat for ‘the queen of wands’ is made out of used car tires. works created by several of the ‘atis rezistans’ have been additionally incorporated into the scenes, including symbolism from the voodoo religion that adds to the meaning of the cards’ original motifs.

alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti
the black cat for ‘the queen of wands’ is made out of used car tires

 

 

 

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.’

alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti
five haitian youths recreate the ‘5 of wands’ with broomsticks

 

 

 

smeets is currently seeking funding on indiegogo to produce the 78-card ‘ghetto tarot’ deck.

alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti
the ‘king of swords’ is represented by a haitian artist wearing a colorful robe

alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti
the two artists act out the ‘5 of pentacles’ in their hometown

alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti
a haitian youth illustrates ‘the fool’ with a plastic bag and a tree branch

alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti
the child recreates ‘the sun’ on a white plastic pony

alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti
‘justice’ is represented by the artist, holding up his on works in the scene

alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti
‘the hanged man’ is recreated simply on a ladder

alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti
surrounded by trash, the haitian artist recreates the ‘5 of cups’

alice smeets brings tarot cards to life on the streets of haiti
‘8 of cups’ is photographed on a hilltop in haiti

 

 


the making-of ‘ghetto tarot’ in haiti
video courtesy of
  • I checked it throughout, really awesome designing, comparison with each other is complete and compete.

    Thomas Dave says:
  • amazing!!! fantastic!!!

    patricia de miranda says:
  • So moving.
    So relevant.

    I have used the traditional tarot cards for decades but this makes what we ask and learn so real.
    What I feel after seeing this…I can’t find enough English words to express. (and I only speak English).
    THANK YOU, ALICE SMEETS.

    tubaska says:
  • Ghetto is such a loaded word. I love this series of images but wish the artists would have found a better title.

    nikkinikki says:
  • Wow!!! What a beautiful idea and tarot deck, colorful and energetic!

    Charis Felice HealingTarotNet says:

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