Curated by Rima Girnius, Ph.D.
Curator at the Figge Art Museum
Restoring the Spirit: Celebrating Haitian Art is a landmark survey of Haiti’s complex visual traditions from 1940 to the present, a portrait of its artists’ devotion to creative endeavors in the face of national adversity.
Recent generations of self-taught Haitian artists have invented a distinct style of art-making that reveals traditional values and belief systems. Ranging from vibrant paintings and sequin-covered textiles to sculpture created from reused oil drums and aluminum pans and other found materials, the works put vodou bliefs and practices into a contemporary context, document historical and political events and individuals, and provide details from small town or rural life, gatherings, and celebrations that are essential to Haitian culture. Perhaps most interesting is the critical function that many of these works played for the collective imagination: fantastic paintings of hallucinatory landscapes populated by exotic animals and vibrant culture serve as an escape from the reality of Haiti’s environmental and political woes. Image-making acts as both a removal from reality and a proposal for utopia.
This exhibition, an important survey of Haitian art, demonstrates that, despite Haiti’s turbulent and often bloody political history, the country has developed a flourishing artistic tradition that speaks to the vitality of Haitian culture and the indomitable spirit of its people.
VIEW Prospectus (PDF)
NUMBER OF WORKS:
33 paintings, 5 sculptures, 2 ceremonial flags
234 linear feet (72 linear meters)
This exhibition is organized by the Figge Art Museum
Lionel St. Eloi, Angel of Justice, 2004
Riguad Benoit, Bal du Carnaval (Carnival Ball), 1979
Stivenson Magloire, Divided Spirit, ca. 1989
Pierre Edugene, The Feast, n.d.
Wilson Biguad, Interior (a Table), ca. 1950