The Storm

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The center image of this block, placed on the very bottom of the mold so as to appear farthest from the viewer, depicts the capital city of Port-au-Prince after the magnitude 3.1 hurricane which devastated the island in 2010. In this piece, the city is divided by a trail of nails; the buildings on the left side of the nails had received government funding for repair and the buildings on the right did not. The national poverty that necessitated this divide is one of the many ailments that plague formerly colonized nations; either you submit to imperial rule, or suffer economic consequences so often brushed aside as “third world problems.” In popular images of Port-au-Prince the right side of this picture is often cut out, eliminating the catastrophe from contemporary memory and thereby erasing the physical and emotional trauma caused by the disaster. The left side of this block depicts an ideal Haiti. A land warmed and nurtured by bright sunshine, this Haiti is known for its brightly colored houses and shell-speckled beaches, represented here with colorful sequins, marbles, and sea glass. The set of keys, paired with reflective shapes evocative of windows, call to mind a welcoming community where every family has a home. The right side of the block, however, represents the true Haiti. Economic class seems fixed enough to be nailed down. The black and amber stones represent Haiti’s crippling dependance on oil and external revenue, and the true Haiti is seen here still entangled in the net of poverty and colonialism. While this Haiti may seem grim, it is comprised of tools which can be used to build a brighter future. Buttons, screws, nails, and netting may look like detritus to some, but can transform into implements with which to achieve a more idyllic Haiti.