Art Exhibition: Joël Nankin Pays Tribute to Late Poet Sonny Rupaire

Guadeloupean painter Joël Nankin will pay tribute to the late poet Sonny Rupaire with a new collection of paintings entitled “Espri Sonny Rupaire.” The exhibition will take place from September 23 to October 23, 2010, and will be presented in fourteen points of Guadeloupe, including fifteen days at the Pavilion of the city of Pointe-à-Pitre. Other venues include Abymes, Baie-Mahault, Baillif, Basse-Terre, Bouillante, Lamentin, Morne-à-l’Eau, and Petit-Bourg.

Independence activist of the early 1980s and founding member of the Mouvman Kiltirèl Akiyo (Cultural Movement of Akiyo) Nankin is an important figure in Caribbean arts. For a month, he will honor Sonny Rupaire, often hailed as the “father of the Creole poetry,” who was born in 1940 in Capesterre-Belle-Eau, Guadeloupe, and died in 1991.

A former teacher in Guadeloupe—who chose to join Algeria’s National Liberation Army rather than fight against them in the Algerian War—Rupaire lived and taught in Algeria for several years. He decided to return to his country and to write in Creole after the massacre at Pointe-à-Pitre, in May 1967, of more than 80 Guadeloupeans by French forces. In 1971, Rupaire was involved in the creation of unions such as the UTA (Union des travailleurs agricoles de Guadeloupe). In the same year, he published Cette igname brisée qu’est ma terre natale (Gran parad’ti koud baton). In 1973, he returned to national education and participated in the creation of the UGTG (Union générale des travailleurs guadeloupéens). He was the first spokesperson for the UPLG (Union populaire pour la libération de la Guadeloupe) and one of the editors of the journal Lendépandans [Independence].

For full article (in French), see

For Rupaire’s full biography (and photo), see

Photo of Nankin from

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