Public art meets poetry in the month-long festival known as O, Miami. We sit down with visual artists Najja Moon and Michelle Lisa Polissaint and O, Miami’s managing director Melody Santiago Cummings to talk about their work and introduce site-specific projects that bring poetry to communities.
Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio: Michelle Lisa Polissaint, Moonlight Moanin’; O, Miami: Ivan Lopez, The Last Ride of José Martí; Mia S. Willis, “hecatomb;” Sandra March, with Jose Olivarez, The Beach is a Border; The Sunroom| Photography courtesy the artists and O, Miami
Who’s The Fool? How To Patch A Leaky Roof: Moon and Polissaint create a Little Haiti Cultural District version of the blue umbrellas distributed for free in the Design District, a burgeoning retail development that is rapidly reducing the footprint of a community established by thousands of Haitian immigrants beginning in the 1950s. The artists imagine a dual role for the 1,000 bright red umbrellas they had fabricated. Mobile shelters from the rain and shields against the impact of urban development, the Little Haiti umbrellas feature a Creole proverb alluding to the false promise of urban development in the district. As if placing a flag on the moon, or drawing a line in the sand, Moon and Polissaint proclaim the identity of the community they call home and construct a monument to those fighting to preserve the district. The artists will go door to door with their gifts, inviting neighbors to join in addressing the larger issue of gentrification in Miami.
O, Miami projects introduced in this episode: Who’s the Fool?; Chiquita Poemas; The Last Ride of José Martí; The Beach is a Border; The Sunroom, poetry in schools