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As a Lakou NOU artist in residence, Sabine Blaizin, DJ and community organizer, worked in the neighborhood of Crown Heights and focused on the impact of gentrification on its Haitian-American community.
For the first part of her project, Sabine collaborated with Storycorps, an organization that broadcasts stories recorded between two participants as they interview each other. Those stories are then archived at the Library of Congress and made accessible to the public. Sabine reached out to current and past residents of Crown-Heights whom she hosted at Haiti Cultural Exchange with Storycorps, over Haitian tea and hors d’oeuvres generously donated by Grandchamps Restaurant.
The second part of Sabine’s project was an installation at FiveMyles Gallery in which she deconstructed elements of a traditional lakou to create an experimental atmosphere around the projection of pictures and sounds from the interviews recorded with Storycorps.
An ephemeral cube made out of white draping, same as the garment worn by women during Vodoun ceremonies, served as the sacred space in which Sabine projected the stories of her interviewees. As you entered the cube, you could see colorful ribbons hanging from above, on strings woven through the wooden grid of the gallery’s ceiling. Within the cube, Mahalia Stines, a Brooklyn-based Vodoun priestess and long-time HCX collaborator, drew an intricate Erzulie Freda vèvè with pink cornmeal that contrasted well with the grey floor of FiveMyles gallery. Next to it, Sabine also placed a table adorned with objects usually found on Vodoun altars.
On the day of this event, guests trickled into the gallery as Okai, another Lakou NOU artist in residence, played his drums. They ventured into the white space, absorbed the stories of Crown-Heights’ rapid gentrification and together seemed to apprehend and mourn the disappearance of Haitian culture exhibited within the cube.
This entry was posted on Monday, February 27th, 2017 at 12:10 pm and is filed under Archive, Events, Lakou NOU. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.