Lakou Jean Claude Santillus

Initiating the 2017 Ghetto Biennial, we continued the tradition of preparing a feast to share between Haitian and foreign artists. While several neighborhood women prepared the feast, we saved seeds from ingredients they were using, and showed how to cultivate ones that we found could grow around the neighborhood. Neighborhood children gathered in his garden to draw native pollinators from open sourced materials that we had printed. This kind of observational drawing invites participants to slow down and look closely at the tiny, non-human species present in their sphere while coming to points of understanding of the role they play in producing fruits on the trees throughout the neighborhood. Like many urban areas, there are big concerns about children maintaining connections with the natural world, and elders are very interested in re-wilding practices that tune us in to connecting to nature. Through the course of the biennial, seeds were collected and added to Claude’s shrine room, which was filled with ecology-themed artworks we found through the community.

A collection of sculptures created by Jean-Claude Santillus, one of the founders of the Atis Rezistans
Sorting through beans – the largest ones were saved & added to the shrine.
We found it difficult to grow beans in the urban zone as they need room to be productive.
A large pot of rice perched on a charcoal stove, typical for the mobile ‘kitchens’ that pop up in yards around the neighborhoods at mealtimes.
Papouche shows off saved chili seeds while preparations take place.
Andre Eugene welcomes neighborhood elders to Claude’s shrine room.
Children practice observational drawing in Claude’s garden

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