Art: “Haití aquí… a cuatro tiempos” and “Haití aquí: Honneur et respect”

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The opening of the exhibition “Haití aquí… a cuatro tiempos” will take place on Friday, April 13, at 7:00pm at Fundación Casa Cortés. Its sister exhibition, “Haití aquí: Honneur et respect” will open on Thursday, April 19, at 7:00pm, at Casa de los Contrafuertes. Both art spaces are in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. El Nuevo Día reports:

Both shows include different materials—photographs, paintings, documents, videos, installations and other elements—that are presented with the common purpose of bringing awareness to the wealth of the first nation in the Caribbean and Latin America that achieved independence after a slave revolution.

The initiative to carry out this project was born months ago when Charles Juhasz-Alvarado and Ana Rosa Rivera, directors of the Casa de los Contrafuertes, were looking for a relevant topic to resume activity in the cultural center, whose work focuses on addressing the Caribbean and its diaspora.

Haiti emerged spontaneously in their conversations. Both of them thought it was a good idea to approach the country from the perspective of Puerto Ricans who have been linked to Haitian art, culture, politics and other areas of interest. Thus, Juhasz and Rivera chose the photographs of photojournalists José Jiménez Tirado, Xavier Araujo, Ricardo Arduengo, Ramón “Tonito” Zayas, Frank Elías, and Alvin Báez. These images will be placed alongside works by Carmelo Sobrino, Beatriz Santiago, and José Luis Vargas, among other artists. The exhibition also includes an architectural model of a school designed by Edwin Quiles and built in Haiti by Puerto Rican brigades.

Juhasz says, “What we are trying to do, from the Contrafuertes perspective, is to explore—through literature, urban planning, photography, and all the angles we can—how the relationship between Puerto Rico and Haiti has been expressed, with the purpose of improving it because I think it is weak. [. . .]”

When the Contrafuertes exhibition was in its initial stages, Ignacio Cortés, president of the Casa Cortés Foundation, visited the institution and agreed to join the initiative. “Haití aquí… a cuatro tiempos” [Haiti here, in four movements] brings together works by several Haitian artists who were part of the ‘naive’ movement in the 40s and 50s and belong to the Chocolate Cortes collection. The paintings will be linked to a series of photographs by the Spanish photojournalist based in Puerto Rico, Luis Alcalá del Olmo, who documented Haitian processions.

In addition, Casa Cortés will have a doll installation by Humberto Figueroa and a video by art promoter and filmmaker Leah Gordon.

[Translated by Ivette Romero. For full article (in Spanish), see https://www.elnuevodia.com/entretenimiento/cultura/nota/lacasadeloscontrafuertesabrazaellegadodeloshermanoshaitianos-2413945/]

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