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"The Arts of Survival"
at Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Michael Abatemarco

Continuing through May 6, 2012

“The Arts of Survival: Folk Expression in the Face of Disaster” takes as its starting point four recent instances of earth, wind, fire, and water in their most destructive aspects — the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, Hurricane Katrina’s angry path along the Gulf Coast in 2005, the 2010 eruption of Indonesia’s Mount. Merapi Volcano, and a flood in Pakistan, also in 2010. The works here presents these events through the eyes of survivors.

Yard artist Joe Minter’s memorial “Rebuild and Restore New Orleans,” a scrap metal monument reconstructed on site in its entirety, stands like a final punctuation mark to Katrina. It reflects a common thread seen in much of “The Arts of Survival,” the use of recycled materials in art. It strikes an optimistic note at the start of the exhibit with a message of hope. In contrast, Merille Délismé’s vodou flag and Onel Bazelais’s paper-mâché mask are horror-ridden depictions of devastation, outpourings of grief that depict the hard reality of violent deaths in a seismic event. These are somber, affecting works. Still, the overall tone is one of remarkable resiliency in response to trauma.

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