Announcing the Lakou NOU 2018 Cohort!

Lakou NOU 2018

Lakou NOU (“Our Yard” in Haitian Creole), now in its third year, is a creative adaption of the traditional rural Haitian communal living system embedded in reciprocal patterns of resource sharing and the intersection of land, family and spirituality. The program provides four artists of Haitian descent with the opportunity to create and present new work while connecting their skills and talents to four traditionally underserved Brooklyn neighborhoods, home to generations of Haitians and Haitian-Americans: Crown Heights, Canarsie, East Flatbush, and Flatbush.

Haiti Cultural Exchange (HCX) is excited to announce the 2018 cohort – Madjeen Isaac (Flatbush), Richard Louissaint (East Flatbush), Stefani Saintonge (Crown Heights), and Sirene Dantor Sainvil (Canarsie).

Madjeen Isaac specializes in oil painting and creates art based on her Haitian American culture. Her creations celebrate individual existence and differences while showing patronage to the Haitian culture.

Richard Louissaint is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and photographer from New York City whose projects focus on underrepresented communities, highlighting the humanity of his subjects and their ability to persevere, find joy, invent, and thrive against the odds.

Stefani Saintonge is a filmmaker and educator whose work focuses on women, youth and immigration. A member of New Negress Film Society, she is a recipient of the Jerome Foundation Film and Video Grant, and holds an MFA in Documentary Film Studies and Production. Her films have screened at numerous festivals in the United States and internationally.

Sirene Dantor Sainvil is a Haitian culture preservationist who used her passions to develop Fanmi Asòtò, a Haitian cultural organization whose drum performance, community workshops, and herbal teachings are rooted in Haitian Vodou. Sainvil seeks to encourage identity building for all Haitians but particularly for Haitian American youth.

These artists will work to form partnerships with community centers, small businesses, community gardens, local cultural institutions, and former Lakou NOU residents. Each artist will receive a stipend of $7,000, a platform to showcase their work to varied audiences, and the opportunity to become more acquainted with social issues affecting Brooklyn communities. Artists will engage in a new curated professional development series which will introduce them to the foundations of social practice, build their skills in artistically-based qualitative research methods, and help develop tools for implementation and evaluation. Each session in the series will be taught by practicing creative change-makers in varying arts and scholarly disciplines.

We thank the Ford Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), and the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), in partnership with City Council Member Jumaane Williams for their support of Lakou NOU.

For more information, visit

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