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OAS/GNT Sustainable Heritage Endorsement Programme

PHOTOVOICE PROMPT #1: THAT’S WE CULTURE

What do you see here? (Addressed to the whole group)

The effects of land clearing

Nature—mountains, banana shrubs, and bamboo plants

A dilapidated house that is inhabited by wild shrubs, not people

A contrast of habitation: the first building is a run-down, brick house that has plants growing in it; whereas the second wooden building is inhabited by people (or caretakers)

Why did you take this photo? (Addressed to the photographer)

I took that photograph to show the after-effects of Hurricane Ivan on the environment in terms of buildings, plants, and people. That is, the photo illustrates the new culture of devastation and the need for reconstruction that Hurricane Ivan brought to Grenada’s forefront. I was, especially, amazed at how Hurricane Ivan transfigured a once thriving 20th century architectural building that was constructed in the 60s into an ancient-looking relic.

What is really happening here? (Addressed to the whole group—alternatively what does the photograph represent?)

The image of the collective after-effects of Hurricane Ivan represents homelessness, abandonment, and decomposition that take into account Grenada’s desire to rehabilitate or reconstruct itself. Also, the overall deterioration in the photo implies that there is room not only for Grenada to improve, but also it suggests that Grenada might not want to continue to allow itself and its structures to sit by idly as sleeping dogs, because oftentimes people, including those who are in the positions to help, tend to let sleeping dogs lie. To a large extent, the effects of Hurricane Ivan indicate how vulnerable, yet resilient, Grenada is in regards to the livelihoods of its peoples, plants, and buildings. But, unlike the previous opinion in “The Struggle” photograph that implies that Grenada is not willing to let itself be seen as a damsel-in- distress, one of the main connotations embedded in the “Ivan!!! picture is certainly one that is based on exposing Grenada’s helplessness, even many years following Hurricane Ivan’s destruction. This “Ivan!!” photo, then, represents the authentic Grenada, in its as-is condition and in its states of dis-ease and disease. That is, Grenada is presented just as it is as opposed to what it should be. Even so, the reality of the tropical vegetation growing in the midst of the structural decay symbolizes the declining legacy of family history as well as it highlights the increase of economic potential in terms of the commercial use of the banana shrubs and bamboo plants that reflects not merely a new agricultural wave, but a new cultural trend as well.

PHOTO Title: Ivan!!!

Photograph Location: Clozier, St. John’s, Grenada, W.I.

Photographer: Joan Charles

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