Vessel for Haiti IV
Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, Professor of Caribbean culture and literature in the Department of Hispanic Studies at Vassar College and an active force within the college’s program of Environmental Studies, invited Anna Wexler and Catherine Tutter to bring the fourth iteration of their Vessel for Haiti collaboration to her class, Creole Religions of the Caribbean. Catherine and Anna engaged her students in creative actions inspired by the artistry of Haitian Vodou and directed toward heightened awareness of the roots of environmental crisis in Haiti and the acute need for compassionate response. Equipped with glue guns and an array of supplies – light-refractive mirrors, sequins, ribbons, trim, materials evoking plant life and the natural world, a variety of Haitian herbs used to heal trauma-induced illness and injury, printed names of Haitians that perished in the earthquake, and a poem by Aimé Césaire, "Incongruous Builders " – students focused on turning small glass bottles into crucibles for healing transformation. Vessel for Haiti IV at Vassar College was also an occasion to honor the late Clotaire Bazile, a Haitian Vodou priest and ritual flagmaker. An original flag designed by Clotaire was made available for students to add leaves around its borders using the traditional bead-to-sequin sewing technique. With embellished bottles and Clotaire’s flag in tow, the group processed outside to a grove of trees by a small stream, where the flag was wrapped around a tree trunk and the base of the tree prepared to receive offerings of bottles. There, student shared their intentions made manifest in their creations, touching upon themes of life, loss, renewal, memory, and the earth. A second day at Vassar included a classroom discussion about Anna's apprenticeship with Clotaire, multiple dimensions of his artistry, and the Vessel for Haiti collaboration.
30 photos · 109 views