Thursday, November 12, 6:30 p.m.
Presented by the Figge Art Museum
Held in conjunction with the venue’s new exhibition Haitian Masterworks, the Figge Art Museum’s Vanessa Sage and Joshua Johnson will host a Virtual Curator Talk on November 12 introducing this fascinating showcase for numerous gifted artists, with the Figge home to one of the largest collections of Haitian art in the United States.
In 1967, Dr. Walter E. Neiswanger’s generous gift of Haitian paintings and sculptures established the Figge’s expansive collection, which has grown to include a dynamic range of artwork in a variety of mediums and styles. Significant works by influential artists of the mid- to late-20th century including Hector Hyppolite, Philomé Obin, and Rigaud Benoit are featured in Haitian Masterworks, as well as the work of contemporary artists Frantz Zephirin, Edouard Duval-Carrié, and Didier William, among others. In addition to a range of talented artists, a variety of techniques are represented, including beadwork, oil painting, woodcarving, and mixed media assemblage. Visitors will be able to appreciate each artist’s dynamic vision while also experiencing the broad cultural and social context that connects Haitian artists, and the exhibition as a whole focuses on prevalent themes in Haitian art including spirituality, transformation, the natural world, everyday life, and Haitian history.
“We are proud to be one of the few places outside of Haiti where visitors have the opportunity to view such a large and diverse collection of Haitian works,” said the museum’s Executive Director and CEO Michelle Hargrave. “Our vibrant, colorful, lively, and thought-provoking collection reflects the boundless creativity and vitality of Haitian art and sparks meaningful conversations about the Haitian culture, people, and history.”
Since Dr. Neiswanger’s initial donation, the museum’s Haitian collection has continued to grow through strategic purchases and gifts. Haitian Masterworks demonstrates the ongoing expansion of the Figge’s collection, as well as the continuing evolution of Haitian art and artists of the Haitian Diaspora. The Figge’s recent acquisition N’ap naje ansamn, n’ap vole ansamn, by contemporary Haitian-American artist Didier William, is a powerful work melding William’s personal experience as a Haitian-American with the cultural history of Haiti in a dramatic combination of artistic styles and techniques.
“Our Haitian art collection is an important community resource, and through Haitian Masterworks we will share outstanding as well as rarely seen artworks with the Quad Cities,” said Figge Assistant Curator Vanessa Sage. “The stunning variety of artwork will amaze longtime museum-goers and new visitors alike, and engage our community with Haiti’s cultural, historical, and artistic significance.”
The Virtual Curator Talk with Sage and Joshua Johnson is free, but advance registration is required, and participants will receive an e-mail with a Zoom link two hours before the program begins at 6:30 p.m. on November 12. Haitian Masterworks itself will be on display through January 24, and more information on both the exhibit and its companion events is available by calling (563)326-7804 or visiting FiggeArtMuseum.org.