A collboration between photographer Alice Smeets and Atiz Rezistans, a group of Haitian artists, Ghetto Tarot is creating a new take on an old tradition. Their project transforms the cards into real life scenes captured in the ghetto of Haiti, using found items that the Haitian artists themselves provided and created for the project.
The Nine of Swords shows a woman with her head in her hands, sitting up in her bed. She appears to have just woken up from a bad nightmare, and is obviously upset, fearful and anxious following her dream. Nine swords hang on the wall behind her.
The Hermit stands alone with a lantern in his hand. He has attained his spiritual pinnacle and is ready to share his knowledge with others. He is committed to his goal of ultimate awareness. He carries a patriarch’s staff, a symbol of the narrow path of initiation and an emblem of power and authority. It represents the Hermit’s ability to use his isolation and the knowledge he has gained as a tool upon his path to reach even higher levels of awareness. The staff is in the Hermit’s left hand, the hand associated with the subconscious mind.
The Five of Cups is a card that signifies difficulty, loss, and the challenges of dealing with that loss. The figure in the card wears a black cloak in which he hides his face in apparent despair. At his feet are five cups, three of which have fallen and spilled onto the ground and the other two behind his back remain standing. He does not seem to notice these upstanding cups because he is so focused on the fallen cups instead. Ahead of him water flows between himself and a home in the distance. Behind him is a path that can lead him to the security of the house across the water. Despite the fact that this card has a strong indication of loss and tribulation, there is a positive aspect that must be considered. Is your cup half full or half empty?
The Star card shows a naked woman kneeling. The woman holds two containers of water. She pours the water out to nourish the earth and to continue the cycle of fertility. Behind her, shines one large star and several smaller stars, representing chakras. This represents a need to open your chakras and cleanse your aura. Notice all the stars have eight points. Eight is Strength, the quality needed to accept your faults and love yourself in spite of them.
The Queen sits upon her throne. In her left hand are flowers, symbolising life, fertility, joy and satisfaction. In her right hand is a wand which is beginning to blossom with life. In these positive aspects, the Queen of Wands represents fidelity, warmth, and sustenance. However, at her feet is a black cat, a symbol of the darker, lesser known side of this Queen. Black cats are typically associated with magic and occultism. The cat expresses the independent nature of this Queen and her interest in occult powers and the energy of magic.
Here is a video the Haitian artists created, talking about the Ghetto and what the Ghetto Tarot project means to them.