[This is an archived post and may not display correctly on our new website.]

Alice Smeets

Nine of Swords


The Ghetto Tarot
Belgium    www.alicesmeets.com

The Ghetto Tarot is a photographic interpretation of the traditional tarot deck in the ghetto. The scenes are inspired by the Rider Waite Tarot deck (originally designed in 1909 by artist Pamela Colman Smith) and were replicated together with a group of Haitian artists called Atis Rezistans (resistant artists) in the Haitian slums using only material we were able to find or create locally.

Atis rezistans are claiming the word “Ghetto”, freeing themselves of its depreciating undertone and turning it into something beautiful. Their act of appropriating a word loaded with unfavorable sentiments by altering its meaning is an act of inspiration. This undertaking of the Haitians made me realize that it lies only within us to assign value or judgment towards a tangible or intangible thing, which creates a positive or negative emotion. If we realize that we can choose if we look at destruction and see despair or if we choose to see the start of something new, we can change the meaning of every word, action and emotion. That is something I learned from the Haitian artists and we are sharing it together with the world through the Ghetto Tarot.

And isn’t the confrontation of our inner feelings and emotions what tarot is all about?