A documentary photographic essay of Haitian children and family situations will be exhibited in the Red Wall Gallery, Lake Ontario Hall, Allendale Campus November 4 – December 13. “Haiti’s Children: Hope Amidst the Rubble,” was created by Steven L. Smith, associate professor in the Grand Valley School of Social Work, who spent his 2012 sabbatical time working in Haiti.
An Opening Reception, with Haitian refreshments, is planned for Monday, November 4, from 4-5:15 p.m.
A massive earthquake in January 2010 killed between 46,000 and 86,000 Haitians, according to recently revised figures. Several hundred-thousand still remain in patchwork tent cities in and around the capital due to a lack of infrastructure, industry and raw materials, a dysfunctional government, extreme unemployment, and alleged corruption throughout the country.
Smith spent his sabbatical working in Haiti among some of the many tent cities in Port-au-Prince. He also worked in a private orphanage, and a new school for restavek (indentured servant) children built through the missionary efforts of several U.S. citizens.
Part of Smith’s work included documenting some of the children and families he encountered during his time there. He expected, and found, that the living environment for many included horrible shelter and unsanitary conditions, inadequate food, water, medical and psychological care, and a non-functioning economy. However, many children not only survived, but were happy and hopeful and created a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos that consumed the adults.
This photo essay intersperses stories of tragedy with photographs of these children, exhibiting surprising hope amidst the rubble. The exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information call the GVSU Art Gallery at (616) 331-2563 or visit: www.gvsu.edu/artgallery.