KEARRA AMAYA GOPEE

These are excerpts from a larger series entitled SOUCOUYANT RISING, a play on the vampiric Caribbean folklore character known as the soucouyant. Traditionally, she is portrayed as an old woman living at the corner of a village who sheds her skin at night and places it in a mortar for safekeeping. This  reveals her true form, a fireball. She then feeds on the blood of her neighbors. Hindrances of her attacks range from sprinkling rice grains at doors and windows so that she cannot cross, to finding her skin and peppering it so that it rejects her when she returns, leaving her vulnerable to the sunrise.

 

Soucouyant Rising seeks to interrogate this folklore as a device used to undermine Caribbean women and leads us to think more deeply about who she is as an independent being, unrestricted by arbitrary boundaries and toxic masculinity. She exists not as the villain but as the hero, as she does what she must to survive in a (post) colonial space that actively focuses on her destruction, exhibiting a resilience that is not unfamiliar to Caribbean women, both at home and within the Diaspora.