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Life and Spirituality in Haitian Art

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November 18, 2020 – March 14, 2021
Curated by Francine Birbragher

Influenced by an island whose history is cultivated with elements from African, American Indigenous, and European culture, the masters featured in this exhibition range from self-taught artists to academically trained painters.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.

This exhibition marks the first time these paintings, which belong to a private collection, have been shown together. It features works by Hector Hyppolite, Philomé Obin, Wilson Bigaud, Jacques-Enguérrand Gourgue, and Gérard Valcin, renowned masters from the first and second generation of artists associated with Port-au-Prince’s Centre d’Art. The exhibition also includes some of their contemporaries and pupils, including Ernst Louizor, Célestin Faustin, Adam Leontus, Diodonné Cédor, and Laurent Casimir.

Life and spirituality in haitian art
Hector Hyppolite
Une jeune dame, n.d.
Mixed media on wood
Betty and Isaac Rudman Trust Collection
Life and spirituality in haitian art
Célestin Faustin
Vendeuse au marché, 1972
Oil on wood
Betty and Isaac Rudman Trust Collection