Life and Spirituality in Haitian Art: MOCA North Miami

The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA)will host exhibitions, virtual events, virtual tours and extended hours during Miami Art Week, Nov. 29–Dec. 6, 2020.

“We are pleased to safely welcome visitors to the museum for Miami Art Week 2020 by presenting a diverse range of exhibitions and virtual programming,” said MOCA Executive Director Chana Sheldon . “MOCA is honored to host the most comprehensive survey of work by Raúl de Nieves, complemented by the exhibition, ‘Life and Spirituality in Haitian Art,’ focusing on Haitian art and paying tribute to Haiti’s rich historical, cultural, and artistic heritage.”

In-Person Exhibitions 
“Life and Spirituality in Haitian Art” Selection from the Betty and Isaac Rudman Trust Collection, 
On View Through March 14 
The exhibition brings together a selection of paintings from Haiti created between 1940 and 1970. Featuring works by Hector Hyppolite , Philomé Obin, Rígaud Benoit, Wilson Bigaud , Jacques-Enguérrand Gourgue, and Gérard Valcin, these renowned masters come from the first and second generation of artists associated with Port-au-Prince’s Centre d’ Art. This exhibition also includes some of their contemporaries and pupils, including Ernst Louizor , Célestin Faustin and Adam Leontus. The merging of techniques, methods, and cultures is seen through their work, ushering forth a style that is uniquely and quintessentially Haitian. The paintings explore the Haitian identity through deep, rich, vibrant colored scenes depicting historical figures, tropical flowers and fruits, rural landscapes, and daily activities infused with spirituality and Afro-Caribbean religious symbolism, particularly from a voodoo tradition. Curated by Francine Birbragher-Rozencwaig , Ph.D.

” Raul de Nieves : Eternal Return & The Obsidian Heart,” On View Through March 21 
Eternal Return and The Obsidian Heart is, to date, the most comprehensive survey of work by Raúl de Nieves. The exhibition connects the artist’s exuberant material sensibility to his roots in punk music, devotional ritual, and celebratory queerness. The artist draws inspiration from his childhood spent in Michoacán, Mexico , where public religious ceremonies and private rituals incorporate elaborate costuming and theatrical components. Coming of age in DIY scenes in San Diego andSan Francisco also energized de Nieves with a theatrical approach to art making. Curated by Risa Puleo .

Virtual Conversations at MOCA 
Conversations at MOCA: Raul de Nieves + Risa Puleo – Thursday, Dec. 3 , 7–8:30 p.m. 
Join artist Raul De Nieves in conversation with exhibition curator Risa Puleo via Zoom as they discuss De Nieves’ exhibition “Eternal Return & the Obsidian Heart”; his history, art and performance practice; and De Nieves’ affinity for punk rock, performance and mysticism. 

Conversations at MOCA: Life and Spirituality in Haitian Art – Saturday, Dec. 5 , 12–1:30 p.m. 
Join artists Edouard Duval-Carrie and Asser Saint-Val in a conversation that pays tribute to Haiti’srich cultural and artistic heritage as these contemporary painters discuss the history of their practice. Moderated by Francine Birbragher-Rozencwaig PhD. 

Family Programs 
Virtual MOCA miniMakers – Saturday, Dec. 5 , 2 p.m. 
Children ages 6–12 and their families are invited to MOCA’s signature make-and-take workshops, taught by local working artists. Creative workshops are inspired by MOCA’s current exhibitions. 
Watch via Facebook Live

Virtual Sunday Stories – Sunday, Dec. 6 , 11:30 a.m. 
Children ages 1–5 enjoy a story reading from ” Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas” by Gail Piernas-Davenport and Marion Eldridge , followed by a hands-on early childhood art project. 
Watch via Facebook Live

Virtual Tours: 
On Sunday, Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 at 3:00 p.m. , MOCA’s Curator of Education Amanda Covach will provide a virtual tour of MOCA’s current exhibitions “Raúl De Nieves: Eternal Return & The Obsidian Heart” and “Life and Spirituality in Haitian Art.” 
RSVP for Nov. 29 Virtual Tour 
RSVP for Dec. 6 Virtual Tour

MOCA’s extended opening hours during Miami Art Week are Tuesday, Dec. 1 , 10 a.m.–5 p.m.;Wednesday, Dec. 2 , 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Thursday, Dec. 3 , 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 4 , 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 5 , 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 6 , 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Timed tickets are encouraged throughout Miami Art Week ( December 1-6 ) and admission will be prioritized for those with pre-purchased tickets available here .

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum has instituted new health and safety guidelines that require social distancing and face coverings, among other measures.

MOCA exhibitions and programming are made possible with the continued support of the North Miami Mayor and Council and the City of North Miami , the State of Florida , Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, and with support from the Green Family Foundation.

The museum is located at 770 NE 125th St., North Miami, FL 33161. Admission to the museum is$10 and free for MOCA members and North Miami residents. For more information, visit, call 305-893-6211 or email .

2 thoughts on “Life and Spirituality in Haitian Art: MOCA North Miami

  1. A critique in parody for, of sorts, in response to an announcement in parody form, of sorts:

    When the announcement first appeared, in relation to others on Haitian art, it seemed fairly innocuous, yet now that it has found its way into repeat mode, an unfortunate incarnation with the same wording, it is much more disturbing than at first glance.

    Repeating Islands is an incredibly informative, celebratory, yet aware site, so it looks like you need an employee or intern to vet announcements. Alternately, perhaps a parody section may help, as this one definitely belongs there, or in a trash bin that exposes exploitation.

    In this case, if the curator somehow finally managed to read something about the ways in which Haitian art has been represented, so why is she feigning knowledge of first and second generation Centre artists. It just isn’t something to be blurted out. Which artists overlapped, how did they engage, and what, if anything did they learn from one another? Examples are needed. Scholarship and archival material is available, which means that for someone not immersed in the art there have to be more specifics, especially because the announcement incorporates the spelling of “voodoo” in the anthropological manner of conquest. “Voodoo” can only work in conjunction with the actual spellings that reference Haitian spiritual practice.

    I hope I am wrong, yet this museum announcement reads as though it were written by a supporter of ethnic cleansing, a promoter of violent sectarian agitation, guided by the most egregious violent colonial approaches, divisive politics, exploitative on the ground restrictive engagements, anti intellectualism, and schlocky glazed ‘eurocentrism.’

    The copying with no reference comes with total ease – reading, thinking, critically assessing, yeah, not so much.

    And the hapless Duval-Carrié becomes a legitimacy prop. Pitiable, Duval-Carrié is led out, talking corpse like, to an eager crowd, a crowd pre-determined to undermine Haiti, devoid of thought, robototmically programmed to regurgitate whatever new exploitative approach to Haitian art is in vogue. Poor man, give him a serious break, please – allow him studio time, and keep him from fraught style marketing schemes designed through desperation to elevate the most middling voices.

    Until not so long ago Duval-Carrié would distance himself from direct associations with mid 20th century Haitian art, yet now because of an imagined caché he craves the association even while he gets all the history wrong. In Duval-Carrié we now sadly have a Fanonian incarnation, mask and all.

    And yes, intention is important – mistakes always happen – yet the intention here on the part of the curator and museum appears to be exploitative.

    It is informative to review how much still needs to be done. While they may feel free to express their derision for Haiti and Haitian art, using the art to promote themselves – as is often done – there are deep seated prejudices, from the somewhat more benign to the decidedly violent, and this type of exhibition feeds into that.

    What is shocking is why Repeating Islands doesn’t include these announcements in a parody section, or with a brief disclaimer about apparent intent – as it is impossible not to see how Haiti and its art are being disparaged.

    These trash style exhibitions only serve to further dehumanize Haiti and strip away the cultural and revolutionary magnificence.

  2. To be clear, these types of exhibitions have been mounted, with varying degrees of failure, since the late 1950s. That we are subject to yet another one of this sort, with even less creativity and very little thought is absurd – the bad kind of horrible absurdity.

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