Sunday, July 17, 2011


Below I have added wide shot photos of Arima's old Catholic cemetery surrounded by bits of urban jungle and small colorful buildings. The stark black and white of the cemetery monuments against the verdant colors of the foliage and the Caribbean colors of the houses conveys a mood I feel is unique to Trinidad's graveyards.

Laurie Zuckerman traveled to Trinidad in the British West Indies in May. These crucifixes were photographed in the Arima Cemetery in Trinidad on a gray, rainy day. Arima sits at the base of the Northern Range of coastal rain forest. This cemetery had a moldering quality that I have tried to capture with closeup digital photography. These encrusted crucifixes have been repainted and peeled over the years in this hot, decaying climate.

Arima is the third largest city in Trinidad. It is also home to the largest population of Amerindians in the country and in most of the Caribbean. Christopher Columbus "discovered" Trinidad. These Amerindians are the descendants of the indigenous peoples of Trinidad at the time that Columbus arrived and the Spanish came to rule the country for the next couple of hundred years. The remarkable thing about these images is that they look just like images I have taken in the Hispanic Southwest. The crucifixes are the same style and the way they are mounted to the crosses is also similar. Note that some of the crosses sit within nichos in the crosses. A world away, a different culture from the Southwest entirely, as most people in this cemetery were either Black, East Indian, or Amerindian. Catholic symbols, such as the cross look pretty much the same anywhere, although the style and color of the grave monuments and overall cemetery layout is extremely unique to Trinidad.

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