"Reframing Haiti: Art, History, and Performativity" (March 23-April 21)//members Edwidge-Gina-Janet participating
There is a wonderful series of events taking place now through April 21st. Apologies for the delay in posting this, as some events have already taken place. The exhibit, 108 works shown in four different venues, is marvelous, and ongoing through the 21st. Many great events are upcoming during the next three weeks. Gina Ulysse, Edwidge Danticat, and myself are all participating.
Hope some of you can attend! Best wishes, Janet
"Re-Framing Haiti: Art, History and Performativity"
From March 23-April 21, 2011, Brown University, in collaboration with the Rhode Island School of Design and the Waterloo Center for the Arts, will host a multi-venue exhibition of more than 100 works of Haitian art.
In conjunction with this exhibition, titled, Re-Framing Haiti: Art, History and Performativity, Brown will host five visiting Haitian artists, who will present public lectures and workshops.
The exhibition and all artist events will be free and open to the public.
Monday, March 21
Altar dedication for Lasiren, Vodou spirit of the sea
Manbo (Priestess) Marie Evans dedicates an altar installation that incorporates collections of the Haffenreffer Museum and Waterloo Center for the Arts.
Haffenreffer Museum, Manning Hall, Brown University College Green
Tuesday, March 22
Film Atis Rezistans: The Sculptors of the Grand Rue presented by Jean Herard Céleur and André Eugène
André Eugène and Céleur Jean-Herard, founding members of the collective Atis Rezistans (Artists of Resistance), based in downtown Port-au-Prince, present the documentary Atis Rezistans: The Sculptors of the Grand Rue by Leah Gordon. Discussion with artists follows film.
Smith Buonanno B G12, Brown University
Wednesday, March 23
Thursday, March 24
"When did Haitian Art Begin?" Michel Lerebours Keynote Speech
Haiti’s premier art historian speaks about the immergence of Haitian art after the Haitian Revolution in the early 19th century.
Location: Room 305, Pembroke Hall
Demonstration and Workshop with Atis Rezistans
André Eugène and Céleur Jean-Herard of the Atis Rezistans collective based in downtown Port-au-Prince collaborate with The Steel Yard to present a workshop and demonstration of the art of found-object sculpture. Please reserve your space by submitting this form.
the Steel Yard, 27 Sims Ave, Providence, R.I.
Friday, March 25
Workshop with Atis Rezistans
the Steel Yard, 27 Sims Ave, Providence, R.I.
April 5 & 7-8
5 to 8 pm
Workshop with Myrlande Constant
Artist Myrlande Constant will teach the beading technique she introduced into the tradition of Vodou flags. Please reserve your space by submitting this form.
Rites and Reasons Theater/Africana Studies — Churchill House
Public conversation between Myrlande Constant and spoken-word poet Gina Ulysse
An open dialogue between and Constant (textile artist) and Ulysse (anthropologist, spoken word and performance artist) on religion, gender and artistic production in Haiti today.
Rites and Reasons Theater/Africana Studies
Lunchtime Talk with Gabriel Bien-Aimé
Gabriel Bien-Aimé will speak on his work, which uses oil drums as raw material to create minimalist figurations that call to mind subtle, yet complex narratives about human, spirit, and animal life.
RISD Library Classroom 228
“Politics in Haiti Today”
Alex Dupuy (Sociologist), Patrick, Sylvain (Writer, Educator) and Nancy Roc (Journalist) speak about the contemporary political terrain of Haiti today, including elections, reconstruction efforts and the role of the international community in Haiti’s future.
"Art in the Time of Quakes & Cholera"
Public lecture by Edouard Duval-Carrié
Haiti’s most celebrated contemporary artist will contemplate the making of art in the aftermath of disasters.
"Gods without Greencards: Haiti, History and the Lwa in the Paintings of Edouard Duval-Carrié and André Pierre"
Curator, ethnographer and writer Cosentino offers a comparative look at Haiti's "Divine Revolution" through the paintings and commentaries of two premier Haitian artists.
talk by Donald Cosentino
“Haiti: At the Crossroads of Surrealism”
Distinguished Professor of History and noted collector of Haitian art Marcus Rediker speaks about the history of Haiti as narrated through its art.
Rites and Reason Theater/Africana Studies Churchill House
Closing Ceremony with Edwidge Danticat
Internationally acclaimed author and MacArthur fellow Edwidge Danticat speaks about Haitian art from a literary perspective.
For many in the Americas, to speak of Haiti is to imagine a strange, unfathomable country where awful things happen and we are asked to deploy our humanitarian largesse. In these frames the extraordinary history and culture of Haiti is viewed as deficit. Aware of this fact, we decided that this exhibition of Haitian art should reframe Haiti as a human place where human lives are lived often against great odds.
How then to reframe?
In the first instance we recognize the centrality of the Haitian Revolution in the making of the Americas. Secondly, Haitian Art has a unique history which was dominated in the 19th century by portraitures and historical paintings. However it is the complexities of Haitian history which influences its art. After the Revolution and independence (1804), Henri Christophe established schools of art in Cap Haitien and Port–Au–Prince. However, as art historian Michel Philippe Lerebours notes, the “artistic traditions which developed following independence” ran into difficulties because of economic conditions.
Today there is narrative which claims that Haitian Art in the 20th century begins with the founding of Le Centre D’Art in Port–Au–Prince. Like many other narratives about Haiti this elides and erases the ways in which Haitians contributed significantly to the cultures and history of the Americas. Edwidge Danticat observes that many Haitian painters, "bring forth another canvas beneath the one we see …." This other canvas troubles many of the labels used to describe a significant portion of Haitian art: the so-called, naïf, the primitive, sometimes called in Caribbean art, the intuitive. These terms invoke a dualism in artistic practice as well as a racial logic reducing all complexities of Haitian culture to a monochromatic gaze. This exhibition works against this gaze.
Reframing Haiti offers an opportunity for critical reflection as the international community considers how best to support Haiti’s efforts to rebuild. Our starting point is that the past shapes both the present and the direction of the future. There are other sources and frames which exist for us to understand Haiti’s history and its present condition. This exhibition acknowledges that not all records are written; not all archives are on paper stored in dusty places. The images here have been created by several generations of artists. They do not speak of a unified history, but rather represent a range of voices, aesthetic styles, ideas and narratives. Haitian art cannot be reduced to reactions against prejudices. The aesthetic scope of the exhibition is expansive and many of these images are narratives about Haiti’s history for a Haitian audience.
From the surrealist dreamscapes of Celestin Faustin to the regal Vodou pantheons and portraitures of André Pierre, the artists featured here complicate our views of Haiti and its history. Three prominent themes emerge from this exhibition : history and revolution; daily life; and religion. These themes offer opportunities to recalibrate historical biases that are in the imaginations of many of us in the Americas.
Ultimately, if there is a potential for Haitian art to influence the future of the country then it may be found in the role it performs in everyday life. The term performativity encapsulates the idea that images act upon the world and constitute a language of the imagination. Images work to define who we are and, by extension, who we are not. As viewers we have the power to choose which images, narratives and ideas we use in reframing our construct of Haiti and of the world.
Anthony Bogues, Harmon Family Professor, Department of Africana Studies
Katherine Smith, Mellon-Cogut Postdoctoral Fellow, Departments of Africana Studies, History of Art and Architecture
Karen Allen Baxter, Managing Director, Department of Africana Studies/Rites and Reason