Manual sugarcane cutting has been the norm in the Dominican Republic since
Christopher Columbus introduced it to the island. It is a brutal job that has
historically been done by Haitian migrants.
A couple of months ago I was looking through what used to be my junk drawer (and is now simply a drawer that is organized because there’s nothing I use in it, which begs the question…). There, I found an almost new deck of naipes–Spanish playing cards that have also been used for divination since at least the Middle Ages. I grew up seeing these being read in places where, too often, those seeking their fortune had none. I suppose I never gave them much thought beyond that. As an adult, I came to discover that the cards are indeed European (most likely via Turkey or the Far East), physically smaller cousins to the more well-known tarot card. What would it look like, I wondered, if one were to put images representing the past on a something used to divine the future? And what if one were to use these European cards decorated with depictions of colonialism in a practice that merges elements of Catholicism and voodoo? These are two of the small paintings that resulted from that experiment.