Haiti's earthquake was one of the top five deadliest disasters in the contemporary world, claiming between 65,000 and 316,000 lives. Haiti's disaster was also arguably the most mediatized in modern history. Media images highlighted the exceptional, macabre, and gruesome. Many of these accounts dehumanized Haiti and Haitian people, while focusing disproportionate attention on the good intention and generosity of humanitarian actors. International media attention helped raise $5.6 billion in official funds for the first two years following the earthquake.
What happened? Where did the money go? Three and a half years following the earthquake, international media attention on Haiti has diminished. Living conditions have only improved slightly and are still among the worst in the world. One index of the collective failures shows that 325,000 people are still living under tents in scores of camps across Haiti.
One of Haiti's many tent camps
Fragments: Haiti Four Years After the Earthquake, an exhibit from the Anthropology Museum at Northern Illinois University, aims to answer these questions. Based on the activist anthropology of NIU Professor Mark Schuller and his book Killing with Kindness: Haiti, International Aid, and NGOs, the exhibit will be open from November 2013-March 2014. Fragments will also serve as the catalyst for inviting experts from around the world to discuss Haiti's contemporary realities and underlying issues. The installation is called Fragments to acknowledge the often disparate lived realities now in relative shadows.
A traveling portion of Fragments will be on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago to coincide with the American Anthropological Association conference, as well as a conference organized by Northern Illinois University on the Future of NGO Studies. After the exhibit's run at the Anthropology Museum at NIU, Fragments will travel the country raising awareness of the continued issues and activism in Haiti since the earthquake in 2010.
to the exhibit will begin by walking through rubble, representing the
"tremors felt round the world." Installation components will include a
wind and sun battered tent and tarp house and a reconstructed cinder
block house. To demonstrate the increasing risks of forced eviction, the
installation also includes the charred remains of a tent from an act of
arson by armed paramilitaries in a recent case of forced evictions. One
empty plastic water bottle will be collected and displayed to represent
each of the over 8,000 lives lost since cholera was introduced to Haiti
after the earthquake, a disease accidentally brought by United Nations
troops in October 2010. Exhibit panels will explore the life histories
and living conditions of several Haitian women and men living "under the
tents." Visitors will also be introduced to Haitian activists trying to
make a difference and be empowered to take action on issues relating to
cholera, forced eviction, housing rights, and aid accountability.
You can help us tell this story. Your donation to Fragments: Haiti Four Years After the Earthquake
allows the Anthropology Museum at Northern Illinois University to pay
for the staff, research, fabrication, installation, programming, and
shipping costs of organizing this powerful exhibit on Haiti and
disaster relief. Rewards include invitations to all programming,
acknowledgement on the exhibit credit panel, private tours, signed
copies of Dr. Mark Schuller's book, and original pieces of art by
Support the exhibit and Haitian artists with your donation