La Sirene

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The centerpiece of this block is a formerly minted Haitian coin. The coin features a profile view of La Sirene, a mami wata (mermaid) and a Loa of wealth. The complex mythology of Haitian Vodou was centered around an extensive pantheon of deities called Loa, each representing a unique natural force or human attribute. La Sirene is married to Agwe, Loa of the sea, and is known to embody materialism and vanity. The objects which surround La Sirene were chosen for their association with the sea; the translucent blue and white pebbles remind us of crashing ocean waves, and the small floating moon above the coin alludes to the power La Sirene holds over the oceans and tides. The torn fishnet placed over the coin is a reference to a life spent in the seas, yet it also represents bondage, pillage, and liberation, reminding us of the terrible violence and awesome courage that led to the birth of the nation of Haiti. The artists also included La Sirene veve, a geometric religious symbol drawn on the floor of a sacred space with corn meal, wheat flour, soil, or chalk. These objects and drawings, collected and arranged by the artists, unite together to create a piece which honors the deity and her worship while also recognizing the struggle that enabled the minting of a uniquely Haitian currency, presented here almost like a trophy raised high at the end of a hard-fought battle.