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Finally, though, what made this structural approach seem inevitable was the sight of some curious little bud vases set out on the gallery tables at the Oloffson Hotel in Port-au-Prince. The vases were roughly fashioned out of a grey cement-looking stuff, into which had been embedded red and white pieces of shattered Coke bottle. When I stared at one of these objects for long enough I realized it was revealing to me the design strategy for the work I had in hand. Later on (a lot later) it struck me too that here was what the whole Haitian experience was about: to be shattered, and then reassembled in a way one could not have predicted.


Madison Smartt Bell