Haiti’s earthquake was one of the world’s deadliest disasters, claiming as many as 316,000 lives. Media images highlighted the exceptional, macabre, and gruesome. These accounts dehumanized Haiti and Haitian people and focused disproportionate attention on the good intentions and generosity of foreigners. International media attention helped raise $5.6 billion in official funds and $2 billion in private donations for the first two years following the earthquake.
What happened? Where did the money go? Four years following the earthquake, international media coverage on Haiti has diminished quite significantly. Living conditions have only improved slightly and are still among the worst in the world with 280,000 people still living under tents in scores of camps. This installation is titled Fragments to acknowledge the often disparate lived realities now in relative shadows.
Exhibit topics will include NGO aid relief, everyday life in a Haitian Shantytown, forced evictions, Haitian activism, local artistry, food sovereignty, education, and healthcare. Based on the work of Anthropologist and Guest Curator, Dr. Mark Schuller and a decade of research in Haiti, this exhibition features the life histories and living conditions of several Haitian people living “under the tents.” Exhibit elements include a wind-and-sun battered tent, a do-it-yourself construction of a shantytown dwelling, and a cot to represent the over 8,000 victims of cholera, a disease accidentally brought by UN troops in October 2010.
Through Fragments, visitors will be introduced to the work of activists trying to make a difference and will learn how to take action on cholera, forced eviction, housing rights, and aid accountability. This exhibition is a vivid, personal, and sensory experience and is meant to create a renewed awareness and inspire visitors to take action against injustices still faced by millions of Haitian people.
This exhibition is scheduled to travel through 2017. Please contact the Anthropology Museum at Northern Illinois University for more information.