Art Exhibition: “Haïti, in extremis”

La-FleurQuebec’s Musée de la civilisation [The Museum of Civilization] presents the exhibition “Haïti, in extremis” adapted from an idea by the Fowler Museum at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles). The exhibition will be on view from November 6, 2013, to August 17, 2014, with close to a hundred contemporary Haitian works by some forty creators.

Michel Côté, Musées de la civilisation executive director is delighted to bring a lesser known side of the “pearl of the Caribbean” to light through the unusual avenue of its art. “This truly is a hard-hitting exhibition, both because of its subject matter and the works on display. Visitors will be struck by our approach and gripped by the power of these Haitian artists’ work as it brings this living and still too little-known culture home to us. No one can be unaffected by what they will experience here. It questions us, challenges our preconceptions, and surprises and moves us—everything an exhibition ought to do.”

For Maka Kotto, Minister of Culture and Communications the ” Musée de la civilisation never fails to astonish, and always in the smartest way. Creating a bridge to Haitian culture through 21st century art plays to Haiti’s strengths and lets us get past the stereotypes too often applied to Haitian culture. It also makes for a dazzling demonstration of the way creativity is essential to life. No one who creates can ever really die.” [. . .] Diane De Courcy, minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities declared [that] “Quebec’s cultural offer is enriched for decades by talent came from elsewhere and an exhibition of this quality again reminds us all the vitality, depth and richness of Haitian art.”

Forceful works and artists:
Alongside established artists such as Mario Benjamin, Maksaens Denis, and Frantz Zéphirin, the exhibition features emerging artists of this decade, such as Mirlande Constant, David Boyer, and members of the Atis Rezistans Collective (resistance artists collective), better known as the Sculptors of Grand Rue. Grand Rue is the main street of downtown Port-au-Prince and is adjoined by a warren of back streets where life and creativity abound amidst a bounty of recyclable materials. Atis Rezistans was founded by André Eugène, Jena Hérard Céleur, and Frantz Jacques, aka Gyodo, later joined by Jean Claude Saintilus, Alphonse Jean Junior, aka Papa Da, Jean Baptiste Gétho, and other artists from the area.

From Port-au-Prince to Montreal:
Musée de la civilisation wasn’t about to miss the opportunity to present the work of these three Haitian-Quebec artists. Manuel Mathieu loaned his oversized Vodou doll head, entitled Spooky. Spooky is also a mask he wears in various situations as part of a free-form project exploring his cultural heritage and the stereotypical responses it provokes. Painter and engraver Marie-Hélène Cauvin’s work tackles youth, violence, and Haiti’s harsh living conditions, while that of painter and sculptor Patrick Ganthier, aka Killy, evokes themes such as impermanence and “the tragic and sorrowful reality of the solitary man,” which echo the precarious living conditions in Haiti. These artists of the shadows are now enjoying increasing international recognition.

For article in English, see http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-9812-haiti-quebec-exhibition-haiti-in-extremis-forceful-works-and-artists.html

For article in French, see http://www.lapresse.ca/le-soleil/arts-et-spectacles/expositions/201311/05/01-4707658-haiti-in-extremis-au-musee-de-la-civilisation-cree-ou-meurs.php

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