March 15, 2006 - #57
The Traffic Circle in Saint Barth
A special municipal commission, created with the goal of selecting a sculpture to decorate the traffic circle at the Tourmente (the top of the hill near the airport), considered a total of 55 projects. A seven-member jury made up of four elected officials and three civilians eventually selected the design by Guillaume Blanchard, and the municipal council ratified the choice in a vote held last December 19.
A freelance designer, Guillaume Blanchard is the youngest son of Daniel Blanchard, who served as mayor of the island for almost 15 years. Guillaume's bronze sculpture represents an Arawak Indian who is holding a lance in his right hand and a conch shell in his left hand. At his feet, an iguana and a pelican, the two animal emblems of the island. The three figures stand on a rock that has the shape of St. Barthelemy, and that in turn rests on a wind rose that shows the frequency of the wind from different points of the compass. The sculpture is 2.3 meters high (the figure measuring 1.7 meters), with a total diameter of 1.6 meters.
To create the sculpture, the municipal technical services office had to find an artisan capable of doing so, and commissioned Xavier Bonpun, an artist who lives in Saint Barth, to make the plaster mold for the project. This will then be sent to Saint Martin, where the Digitale Fusion foundry will make the bronze version. The goal is to have the project completed and the statue in place by August 14, St. Barthelemy Day.
The pharmacy of yesteryear...
Home remedies and the old-fashioned medicines were the order of the day on Sunday, January 29 when the municipal museum and the tourist office joined forces to organize Saint Barth's participation in the 21st annual European Heritage Days event. People of all ages stopped by the museum to ask questions of the old-timers, who were happy to share their special knowledge. Thirty plant cuttings were on display, each accompanied by an explanation of its virtues and uses. This herbal medicine cabinet was gathered by the director of the museum, Eddy Galvani, who asked a dozen older island residents who knew about these plants to bring in fresh samples from the various parts of the island. These older folks, primarily natives of the neighborhoods of Vitet, Flamands, and Grand-Fond, spent their afternoon explaining how they use the plants and answering questions from a very interested audience.
Even if most people find it easier today to just take an aspirin to ease their pain, the leaves of these medicinal plants are still used on the island in various ways, as an ointment or infusion. The corossol is known for its calming properties, while chard is fortifying for babies, the milfoil is good to fight a cold, while basil helps against bronchitis and sore throats, while tea made from citronella helps with digestive difficulties. An infusion made with the dried skin of a pomegranate stops diarrhea and semen-contra (worm weed) is a confirmed vermicide. To treat rheumatism, a mixture of sap from the "gommier" tree and run was applied as a plaster on the painful areas. Aloe is a plant with multiple assets: an excellent vermicide, and its juice heals burns and cuts. It can also be used a nourishing shampoo, like the juice from certain cacti. The heritage day was a successful event and hopefully the organizers will produce it again next year.
More to come