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Cockfighting – some images from our environment

PinelThis recent series about the Pitt –or pit- by Robert Charlotte represents colour images of the cockfighting champions, the amateurs and their public. We notice at once that the photos exhibit neither the violence of the fights nor the contestants’ wounds.

The Pitt, implanted for ages in our local environment constitutes a traditional site that has nearly been banned, like the Corrida in Spain. Cockfighting is still one aspect of Caribbean people’s lives, like other local practices that strengthen the link between people and their environment.

This environment becomes an artistic site as we have observed in recent practices with the street, the Creole garden, the quays, or the yards of Creole houses. The Photographer’s options are never anecdotic, either when it is a closed place or outdoors, or with the contrast between light and shadow; and they define the artist’s choice to include the public in his experience.

The champion, the cock, constitutes the aesthetic object for the photographer; he is pampered, bathed, cared Saxemardafter and properly fed; sometimes his owner gives him a name, and his reputation follows him from one victory to the other. This challenger, more reminiscent of a bird of prey than of a pet, embodies some values such as pugnacity, the will to succeed, the refusal of failure, and of rejection too.

A subject of pride when he wins, because there exists a real affective relation between the champion and his owner; otherwise, when he fails, his master or owner gets all the blame. Formerly, they used to hang the body of the dead loser far in the garden, a symbolic act that was meant to leave its mark and that is also one aspect of the code that regulates a world beyond the world.

SUZANNE LAMPLA

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