Marcel Wah recently announced the launch of Kylti, a new nonprofit organization with the vision “to sustain and advance Haitian arts, culture, and life.” Wah says that ongoing attempts to “fix” Haiti without taking into account cultural life and the arts are already moving in the wrong direction. He stresses the need for preserving Haitian aesthetics and identity, explaining that any technical support and resources to assist Haiti in its development should honor “this spiritual prerogative of the Haitian people.”
Kylti “invites all Haitians, our Caribbean neighbors, Friends of Haiti, and citizens of the world to join [the organization’s] efforts in advancing Haiti through its richest resources—its people, culture, and the arts” and to help plan, research, develop, and implement arts and cultural initiatives to drive the social and economic development of Haiti and its Diaspora.” Kylti’s programs aim to foster education, promote environmental awareness, sustainability, self-sufficiency, and empowerment through the arts.
Description: “Kylti is a variation on the Haitian Kreyol word, kilti, which means culture. Culture, unfortunately, is often overlooked by decision makers in terms of the impact it has on a society. It is usually seen as a secondary concept or placed low on the economic or political priority scale. However, it is called upon and given importance whenever people desire to express themselves, their identity, and show what makes them unique from others. In development parlance, the idea of culture doesn’t seem to enter the picture until a city or town is considering ways to ‘revitalize’ the area to make it more appealing to boost the economy or tourism. Kylti will pay special attention to this particular area. We want to communicate and make a case for culture and the arts as the economic engine of Haiti, or as the saying goes, the ‘bread and butter’ of the country. Haiti must develop its own aesthetic and an identity that is purely its own—one that honors and glorifies its incredible history and rich culture.”
To read message by Kylti director, Marcel Wah, see http://www.kylti.org/about/director-message.php
For more information, see http://www.kylti.org/index.php
Untitled painting by Castera Bazile from http://www.cawmagazine.com/articles/philippe-lerebours/index.php