Archive for the ‘An n’ Pale’ Category

Atis Angaje: A Panel Discussion for Lakou NOU 2018

03.05.18

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. This year, 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. Marking the launch of this series is the Atis Angaje panel discussion which features 3 Haitian and Haitian American artists who discuss their experience building their artistic practice and engaging with social justice and socially engaged work.

 Featured Guests:

monvelynoMonvelyno Alexis, musician, was exposed early to the “rasin” movement while growing up in the vicinity of Carrefour Feuilles, Haiti. He had the opportunity to learn from the founding members of “Groupe Ca” (known as Foula in the late eighties), a musical combo with a revolutionary concept, consisting of creating a music that would preserve the authenticity of the African legacy in the Haitian musical heritage. Lesly Marcelin, alias Samba Zao, one of the most innovative musicians of this movement, guided the young musician and helped him understand the language of the drum as it relates to the percussive nature of the guitar.

Monvelyno started playing the guitar at the age of 18, giving up the wind instruments (flute, clarinet and trumpet) of his high school years; the same instruments that nurtured his passion for music, especially the Gospel genre that brought awareness of his talents as a singer. By his early twenties, he matured into a skilled guitar player. His passion moved his work forward, in search of an original musical language. His journeys took him to the temples of the African musical legacy. Soukri, Badjo, Souvnans unlocked hidden potentials and opened new avenues. The idea of Kod ak Po (Strings & Skins) originated from conversations with vodou clerics and deep studies of their rituals and spiritual songs. It will take, however, a few years to shape these ideas into what the listener will discover today as a major step in shaping and defining the contour of an original rendition of Haitian music.

Jessica-St-VilJessica St. Vil is a graduate of Lehman College, where she received her B.A. in Mass Communications and Dance. She continued her training with a partial scholarship from the Alvin Ailey School’s professional division.  Jessica teaches classes and gives workshops in Ballet, Modern, and Afro-Caribbean dance. Some of her teaching credits include: Pratt Institute, the NAACP, and the Dance New England Foundation in Maine. She currently works as a teaching artist for the Alvin Ailey arts in education program. Jessica is also one of the co-founders of “Danse Xpressions”center for the performing arts.  She has worked with many choreographers such as Christopher Huggins, Martial Roumain, Marcea Daiter, Sean Curran, Kayoko Sakoh, Kwame Ross, and Dyane Harvey. She has worked and performed with several dance theater companies, such as Feet of Rhythm, The Joan Peter’s Dance Company, Vissi Dance Theater, Tamboula D’ayiti, Opus Dance Theater, the Rod Rodgers dance company, and National Ballet Folkloric of Haiti(BFH).

Jessica worked in collaboration with Unimix films; choreographing a short film titled “One More Try” and their newest award winning feature film “Forever Yours”.  She was honored in Washington DC by the National Museum of Women and the Haitian Embassy for her accomplishments in dance and for her continued dedication to Haitian art and culture.  In addition to being a teaching artist with the Ailey school, Jessica worked as a guest choreographer this past Spring at both “Brooklyn Friends School”  and  “Educational Center for the Arts” in North Haven Connecticut teaching choreography about social justice through dance.  Most recently she worked in collaboration with playwright and musician “Jean-Claude Eugene” choreographing his latest work “Zatrap” Haititrauma.  Jessica is extremely grateful for all opportunities she has been given and aspires to continue to enrich her life and the lives of others through the arts.

MicheleVoltaireMarcelin

Michèle Voltaire Marcelin  Multifaceted artist Michèle Voltaire Marcelin is a performer, poet, writer, and painter who has lived in Haiti, Chile and the United States.  While some artists are born, ready to spread their magic when the muse touches them, others are shaped through life experiences;  Voltaire Marcelin has re-assembled elements of her life and shaped them into various artistic expressions.

Her books of poetry and prose are published in English, French, Spanish and Creole. Her work is also included in diverse anthologies published in France, Cuba, Canada and the United States. She is featured in the films of directors Patricia Benoît, Raoul Peck and Patrick Ulysse.  Her artwork has been exhibited at the MoCADA, the African-American Museum of L.I.,  Kenkeleba Gallery, The Cork Gallery at Lincoln Center and the Mupanah in Haiti.

She has performed her poetry solo, and with jazz bands in New York, Miami, Montréal, Paris, Port-au-Prince, and Costa Rica.  This Haitian born artist writes in 3 languages and currently lives in New York.  More information about Michèle can be found on her website.

Panel Moderator:

Diane Exavier 2

Diane Exavier (East Flatbush) used her Lakou NOU residency to develop her original play Good Blood. With “Each Body is a Miracle,” Exavier delved deeper into some of the play’s issues and themes of immigration, partnership/intimacy, and health through social practice. Diane Exavier creates performance events, public programs, and games that challenge viewers to participate in the active realization of a theater that rejects passive reception. She is also an arts educator with a pedagogy that focuses on creating reflective spaces for young people. Her work has been presented at Westmont College, California State University: Northridge, New Urban Arts (Providence), West Chicago City Museum, and in New York: Bowery Poetry Club, Dixon Place, Independent Curators International, Medialia Gallery, and more. Her most recent play Good Blood was workshopped in residency with the Flea Theater. Her writing appears in Cunjuh Magazine, Daughter Literary Magazine, The Atlas Review, and The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind.

DATE/TIME: Thursday, March 15 | 6-9pm

LOCATION: FiveMyles | 558 St. Johns Place, Brooklyn, NY 11238 | MAP

SUGGESTED DONATION: $10

RSVP HERE.

About the author:

Veroneque Ignace is a Brooklyn-based Haitian American community arts advocate and public health practitioner. She is the creator of Kriyol Dance! Collective and centers her work on community and individual wellness. Veroneque is an alum of Suny Downstate Medical Center: School of Public Health.

For more of her work: www.veronequeignace.com | instagram.com/_kriyoldance_

Posted in An n' Pale, Archive, Lakou NOU, Social Justice | No Comments »

Ann Pale with Lakou NOU 2017!

01.16.18

Join us for our signature Ann Pale | Café Conversation with Lakou NOU 2017 Artists Diane Exavier, Glenda Lezeau, and Jasmine Plantin. They will be discussing their work as part of the Lakou NOU artist residency program at Haiti Cultural Exchange. This project provides artists of Haitian descent with the opportunity to create and present new work by 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.

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Diane Exavier creates performance events, public programs, and games that challenge viewers to participate in the active realization of a theater that rejects passive reception. She is also an arts educator with a pedagogy that focuses on creating reflective spaces for young people. Her work has been presented at Westmont College, California State University: Northridge, New Urban Arts (Providence), West Chicago City Museum, and in New York: Bowery Poetry Club, Dixon Place, Independent Curators International, Medialia Gallery, and more. Her most recent play Good Blood was workshopped in residency with the Flea Theater. Her writing appears in Cunjuh Magazine, Daughter Literary Magazine, The Atlas Review, and The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind.

Glenda Lezeau is a lover of all things Konpa from the keyboard solos to the dance moves. She is a piano player determined to shed a different light on Haiti by sharing the sounds of Haitian music along with its beautiful culture. Her passion for music strengthens and intensifies as she advances a movement of positive, inspirational music that is powerful enough to impact others. With over 20 years of training as a pianist and violist, Glenda has performed at many high profile venues, including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, The Plaza Hotel and New York’s City Hall. She holds a diploma in Instrumental Music from Fiorella H. Laguardia High School of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Connecticut.

Jasmine Plantin was born and raised in New York and has been surrounded by art and design since she was a child. She attended Parsons the New School for Design and Central Saint Martins for her undergraduate degree, where she was nominated for “Designer of the Year” and graduated with a BFA in Apparel Design in 2013. While pursuing her degree she apprenticed with design studios Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra and Phillip Lim until she graduated and began designing menswear for Greenpoint based company Outlier. Her work in textiles and fashion has appeared in international publications, such as Teen Vogue and Oyster Magazine, and has been displayed in Saks Fifth Avenue and at exhibitions in Paris, France.

This event will be moderated by Veroneque Ignace, current HCX Programs Coordinator. Veroneque Ignace is a Haitian-American artist, dancer, and former Lakou NOU artist resident for the programs inaugural year.

For more information on HCX’s Lakou NOU Artist in Residency Program, please visit our website:
www.haiticulturalx.org/lakounou

DATE/TIME: Friday, February 9th | 6pm to 9pm
LOCATION: FiveMyles Gallery | 558 St Johns Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11238 | MAP
ADMISSION: $10 Suggested Donation

Drinks and refreshments will be served at 6pm and program begins at 7pm.

RSVP FOR THE FACEBOOK EVENT HERE.

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Ayiti Toma: The Genesis. To Be Continued.

02.28.17

written by guest author Marie Antoine.

HCX kicked off Black History month with the closing reception and artist talk of the visual arts exhibition Ayiti Toma: The Genesis. The event was hosted at the Haitian owned Tapas Wine Bar and Lounge, 33 Lafayette. The lounge provided a cozy and inviting atmosphere which allowed attendees to attentively absorb the fierce storytelling, history and intricate layers of Haitian liberation as it continues to unfold. Conceptualized and curated by Mahalia Stines a multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn and featured two other Haitian women artists: Monique Serres, a realist painter who asserts that the value of art lies in its message and therefore she thoughtfully uses technique including allegory, facial expression or color and form to evoke meaning; and Nathalie Jolivert, a New York based artist whose artwork is influenced by urbanism, environmental issues and human relationships.

Frederica Stines

Each of the women submitted very contrasting pieces, yet the messages of Haitian triumphs, defeats and aspirations were present in each of their works. Stines’ quilted piece Ayiti Toma: Genesis depicts the birth of Haiti starting from Langinen (the Motherland) to the declaration of Independence in 1804. She also stated during the talk, that the piece is a work in progress holding space for developments in the nation’s plight to achieve liberation. Stines is a natural and captivating storyteller, her quilt includes details that bring to life the various states of anguish that the ancestors lived through; from the atrocious and cramped spaces of the slave ships to the fiery scenes of the bloodshed during the rebellion.Fittingly the opening of the exhibit took place on January 1st commemorating Haiti’s 214th year of independence and the show ended in February during the celebration of Black history month in the United States. Timing was not the only well-thought out facet of the show, Stines’ was intentional in every aspect of creating Ayiti Toma. Firstly she only featured female artists. She did so in order to address that although women played crucial roles in the Haitian revolution they are not given the necessary recognition that is warranted.

ayiti toma

From my perspective, the most poignant scene from Stines’ narrative of her quilt is when she told of the slaves’ gazing up at the stars when they were given an opportunity to move from the constricted space they occupied to allow blood to circulate in their bodies. To imagine the ancestors gazing up at the stars triggered a peculiar emotion within me. Often times history can be difficult to grasp, especially a history that is so full of atrocities, covering a long span of time and that affected a huge population. It is easy to focus only on the facts and the dates when studying history and in doing so it makes it possible to disconnect from the reality of historical events on human life, therefore incorporating small details that capture the humanity in history is crucial. I was pleased that Stines presented such a comprehensive retelling of the genesis of Ayiti Toma.

Monique Serres Painting

Similarly Serres’ piece of a woman living in a tent city in Port-Au-Prince (PAP) after the earthquake in 2010 was also impactful in the way it portrayed one reality of those who were affected. During the talk Serres stated that she had not been back to Haiti after the earthquake, a fact that surprised me because of the layers of truth she conjured up while creating her piece. At first glance it was apparent that Serres did not paint a subject in despair, in fact the woman in the painting looks dignified in her bright yellow shirt and red dangly earrings which match the bag she is holding in her hand. Deliberately so on the artist’s part, the woman’s presence captured my attention first. However when my eyes started averting to the collapsed presidential palace in the backdrop and then to the American rice laying on the ground inches from her foot I started to get a different picture. Furthermore as the spectator, I do not know if she has been living in that tent a few weeks to a year or more, so it becomes clear why it is necessary that this woman keeps her head up. This attitude of not giving into despair but instead trying to rise above is how Haitians were accorded the term resilient.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary resilient means being able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. Starting with slavery, through the revolution and the following years of political and environmental issues; Haitians are in a consistent state of recovery. However the consistency of the unrest does not allow for full recovery. Instead Haitians have become a depository for the negative impacts of the persistent assault on Haitian land, Haitian bodies and Haitian psyche. The result is what Nathalie Jolivert touches on in many of her works, which portray the urban landscape and live figures of Port-Au-Prince.

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During the talk, one of the attendees noticed that the human figures in Jolivert’s art do not have eyes. Her answer — it symbolizes the invisibility that the masses in PAP embody. She explains further by describing the scene in the tap-taps (a form of public transportation in Haiti) where there is seldom eye contact; she also describes the nameless merchant women who are only classified by the products that they sale e.g the charcoal vendor or the fritay vendor. She paints the figures without eyes in order to stimulate conversation as an attempt to give voice to the reality of the implicit and marginalized aches of the masses in PAP. And also of the distress linked to the poor infrastructure and landscape of the city. One of her strengths as an artist is that Jolivert is not politically correct, therefore she does not dilute the truth of her observations and experiences of living in Haiti.

I left Ayiti Toma: Genesis more knowledgeable of Haitian history than when I walked in. I left inspired by the audacity of Haitian blood. And I left motivated by these three women creatives who are making sure their voices are heard deliberately, passionately and with authority.

About the Author, Marie Antoine 

Marie Antoine
Marie Antoine is a Haitian born holistic counselor and
aspiring entrepreneur based in Brooklyn,NY.  
Her ultimate goal is to use her education
and experience in social work to work in community building in Haiti.

 

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Ann Pale | Café Conversation with Lakou NOU Artists

10.06.16

by Nathalie Jolivert, Communications and Outreach Coordinator at HCX.

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Lakou NOU is Haiti Cultural Exchange’s newest Artist in Residency program providing opportunities for artists to work in Brooklyn communities that are home to generations of Haitians and Haitian-Americans. The first four artists to participate in this program are true community activists who will be working in the neighborhoods of Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush and Canarsie. Their projects deal with urbanism, place-making, community-building, public health, and empowerment at a time in US history when the Afro-Caribbean people of Brooklyn need it most. HCX hosted its signature Ann Pale Café Conversation panel with the first cohort of Lakou NOU residents: Sabine Blaizin, Veroneque Ignace, & Okai Fleurimont. (Sherley Davilmar was unable to be present).

20160926-sabine-blaizin-crown-heights-jute

Sabine Blaizin, a New York based DJ who spins Afro-Soul, combines sounds of the African and Afro-Caribbean diaspora. In her project based in Crown Heights, Blaizin will create a soundscape with stories she will collect from Haitian members in the community affected by gentrification. To collect those stories, Blaizin is very proactive in connecting with Crown Heights community leaders and attending neighborhood meetings relevant to her subject. On October 26th, she will be holding interviews at our office in Crown Heights with volunteer residents. Their stories will be recorded by StoryCorps and archived in the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress.

Blaizin has performed with DJs in various cities in the US, Canada, Dakar, Mexico, Cuba and Haiti. In answering how it feels like to travel to different countries and coming back to the US with new material, she explains that she reaches a different level of connection with her crowd. Listening to her music mixing conversations, deep reflections and words of wisdom, one can already imagine how inspiring and challenging it may be for Blaizin to piece together sounds of grief, displacement, nostalgia and disappointment in Crown Heights. The feelings that are attached with the “Haitian flight” in Crown Heights can be assimilated to all the forced migrations people of black heritage experience. Gentrification is an ongoing occurrence in Crown Heights. It is bittersweet to foresee that the residents’ experience is ready to be archived for the memory of future generations. Blaizin’s project also brings an opportunity for those residents to reflect on their situation with an approach that might reveal new depths in their understanding of what gentrification means in their lives.

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Véronèque Ignace is a dancer and public-health professional who wants to heal through the power of dance. This has been an important goal for her since working on her thesis at Williams College. In a powerful video introduction of her thesis, she explains that the experience of Black students studying in predominantly white institutions can be traumatic and should be taken into account in their academic performance. The result is a dissertation and choreography in which her dancers interact with the audience and make them face this issue with movement.

How does her experience as a dancer and academician at Williams differ from her role as a healer in East Flatbush? “In East Flatbush my work is not a show” she responds. In East Flatbush, Ignace creates a platform and outlet for the youth to deal with emotions that are not always addressed. It is an opportunity for her to truly practice skills of dance therapy and respond to the youth’s reaction to violence in their neighborhood. “Some of them are afraid to leave their house” Ignace explains.

The title to Veroneque’s project is “#Trending” and she encourages the young Haitian-Americans of East Flatbush to express their feelings about the trending deaths in the Black community – Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, more recently Keith Scott… unfortunately, the list goes on. How not to feel overwhelmed? Dealing with the growing numbers is a challenge that Ignace is willing to tackle as the youth of East Flatbush grapple with the violence they witness in their community.

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Rodney ‘Okai’ Fleurimont, is a percussionist and MC who is interested in the importance and benefits of a healthy diet in a musician’s life. In recent experiences traveling with his music band, he realized that, beyond the fatigue of traveling through different time-zones, the meals his colleagues consumed had a direct correlation with their performances. Okai has previously taught at PS 189 in Brownsville Brooklyn as a Ti Atis teacher via HCX and his experiences leading workshops and various other initiatives, made him realize that there is a pressing need for the youth in the Black community to think about their diet. Issues of diabetes and obesity are prominent within the youth of the Black Community.

With his project in Canarsie, Okai will partner with various drummers, masters of Afro-Caribbean and West-African techniques, to teach students how to play the drums. Each session will begin with a class on exercise and diet. Okai’s goal is to inspire the Haitian-American youth to keep their passion for music alive by understanding that they need the physical strength to carry their musical instruments around and also to play for hours without collapsing. There are many other benefits in participating in Okai’s workshops. Discipline and team-work are the qualities he sees his students acquire as they learn how to play the drums. They understand that it takes great team-work and perfect coordination to carry out a nice melody.

Sherley Davilmar, who will be working in the community of Flatbush was unable to make it to the Ann Pale Café Conversation. However, she shared with us the workshops that she will be hosting in the upcoming weeks for her project. They will all take place at the Brooklyn Public Library on Linden Boulevard and will cover themes of “Health Beauty and Wellness”, “Gentrification” and “Black Bodies”. From Davilmar’s energetic performances during HCX’s Selebrasyon events, one can already expect that her work will be charged with great information for future performances.

The Ann Pale Café Conversation with the Lakou NOU artists was a great opportunity for us to learn about the progress of their work. Speaking to the audience was also initial research material for the artists in their projects. As interactive as their work is, it will be inspiring to see how their projects evolve in the upcoming months.

Check out the Facebook Album HERE.

Take a look at the calendar of upcoming programs HERE.

Posted in An n' Pale, Archive, Dance, Events, HCX Programs, Music, Uncategorized | No Comments »

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