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Bordering the Imaginary: Art from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and their Diasporas  at BRIC House


“The Brooklyn-based arts organizations BRIC and Haiti Cultural Exchange teamed up on the occasion of the visual art exhibition, Bordering the Imaginary: Art from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and their Diasporas to ask four local thinkers of Haitian and Dominican descent to write about their personal experiences of border between the two nations. What ideas did they grow up with, and what inherited notions are challenged by their experiences living 1,500 miles from the island once known as Kiskeya? The responses grapple with issues of identity, race, stereotypes, and heritage, and share the personal perspectives of novelist Ibi Zoboi, scholar and professor Edward Paulino, immigration activist Albert Saint Jean, and community organizer, artist, and herbalist Suhaly Carolina-Bautista.” 

-Régine M. Roumain, Executive Director at Haiti Cultural Exchange and Jessica Sucher, Senior Manager of Community Engagement at BRIC


Beginning this month until the end of April, BRIC is presenting a visual arts exhibition that brings together Dominican and Haitian artists investigating the complex relationship between the two countries.

Titled “Bordering the Imaginary: Art from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and their Diasporas,” the exhibition features work in a wide array of media by 19 Dominican and Haitian artists, based in both their native countries and in the United States. The artists draw on their experiences of difference, movement, and immigration to create a collective visual narrative that exposes inequalities and stereotypes of race, gender, and sexuality, which have plagued the island since the 15th century. Their work also displays the vitality of the visual arts in their communities. Through the exhibition, exhibition catalogue, and public programs, Bordering the Imaginary will reveal the complexities of a historically shifting transnational border space and the formation of distinct but intertwined nations.

Haiti Cultural Exchange has successfully partnered with BRIC in asking four local thinkers of Haitian and Dominican descent to write about their personal experiences of border between the two nations. Read the essays here.  Writers Ibi Zoboi, Suhaly Bautista-Carolina, Edward Paulino , and  Albert Saint Jean  will share their thoughts about the essays and their experiences  in a public conversation, moderated by Dr. Carolle Charles, as part of the  BRIC OPEN: Borders  Festival.

DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 28 | 4pm

LOCATION: Gallery at BRIC House | 647 Fulton Street Brooklyn, NY 11217 | MAP



Fanmi Asòtò @ BRIC

Lakou NOU 2018 artist resident and co-creator of Fanmi Asòtò, Sirene Dantor Sainvil, will be performing as part of BRIC’s “House Party: Imagination Island” – an event set to ignite your imagination with stories, arts, and games from global island cultures. Fanmi Asòtò will hit the stage at 1:30pm.

Photo by Guitart Photography


DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 7th | 12-5pm
LOCATION: BRIC House | 647 Fulton Street Brooklyn, NY 11217 | MAP

We hope to see you there!



Fabiola Jean-Louis, Madame Beauvoir’s Painting, 2018

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Sign Up to be a Selebrasyon! 2018 Volunteer!



Haiti Cultural Exchange is proud to announce our third biennial festival of Haitian art and culture, Selebrasyon! – New York City’s only festival dedicated to the promotion of the highest caliber film, dance, music, literature, and visual art of Haiti and its Diaspora. The festival will showcase the diversity, beauty and vitality of Haiti and its Diaspora through arts presentations of traditional Haiti to the modern day. We would like to invite you to work with us as a dedicated volunteer to make this year a success!

This year’s Selebrasyon! theme centers around Ayiti Angaje/Atis Angaje – an ode to artists, inspired by Haiti’s revolutionary spirit, who are building their artistic practice on social justice and socially engaged work. Through creativity, expression, and community, this two-month festival of Haitian Arts & Culture will bring together over thirty emerging, mid-career and established artists from Haiti and its vast Diaspora. Artists will present their work in community-based and main-stage venues throughout NYC.

Selebrasyon! will kick off with an opening night event on Thursday, May 17th and end with a wonderful closing night celebration Friday, June 29th. HCX depends on dedicated volunteers to support our events. We are writing to ask you to commit your time as a volunteer on one or more of the following teams:

Opening Night Support Team: includes completing task exclusively related to Selebrasyon’s opening night event featuring Boukman Eksperyans.

Flag Day Support Team: includes completing task exclusively related to Selebrasyon’s Flag Day event, hosted in collaboration with the office of Council member Jumaane Williams and Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte.

Hudson Guild Team: includes providing support to events happening as part of Selebrasyon’s expansion through the Hudson Guild’s Cultural Kaleidoscope Festival.

Event Support Team: includes support at individual Selebrasyon! events such as sign in, event preparation, event-specific tasks, etc.

Street Team: includes community outreach, flier placement, community partner engagement, etc.

In-office Task Force: includes working in the HCX office to support activities related to the festival and online social media outreach.

If you are able to volunteer in any capacity, please fill out this sign-up sheet which includes a sample schedule of the time commitment. If you have questions or know someone who may be interested in donating their time, email us at

We deeply value and appreciate the time and energy of HCX Volunteers like you!

Warmest Regards,

The HCX Team

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Selebrasyon! 2018: Ayiti Angaje/Atis Angaje coming this May!



Selebrasyon! is New York City’s only festival dedicated to the promotion of the highest caliber film, dance, music, literature, and visual art of Haiti and its Diaspora. Haiti Cultural Exchange’s 3rd Biennial celebration will bring artists and diverse communities together to experience Haitian culture, its creative foundations, and its powerful legacy.

This year, HCX is pleased to announce that six Haiti-based artists will be participating in Selebrasyon! programming. This is all thanks to the support we have received for our HaitiXNY initiative, which aims to bring more artists from Haiti to present their work.

View the 2018 Calendar Here!


Artists to be featured during the 2018 season include:


Boukman Eksperyans (HaitiXNY Artist) ushered in a musical revolution with their Grammy-nominated debut album, Voudou Adjae. This brilliant release introduced the world to Boukman’s worldly high energy sound fusing traditional Haitian and Caribbean rhythms with rock and reggae. Voudou Adjae brought the band international prominence and made them spokespeople for Haitian people. Since their emergence on the scene, Boukman has continued to release revolutionary critically acclaimed albums and mesmerize audiences World Wide from Haiti (where they draw tens of thousands of fans per show) to the Caribbean, throughout North America, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Africa both as a headlining act and alongside Wyclef Jean, Femi Kuti, and Baba Maal.


Dance Caribbean Collective is an organization dedicated to facilitating Caribbean Dance works, performances and cultural experiences in the Caribbean Diaspora with a focus on Brooklyn, NY. The collective is run by (DCC) Lead Artists who lead and design the programming, workshops and performances, and the (DCC) Powerhouse that does the behind the scenes administration. Through a collective model, DCC facilitates connections and collaboration between peer artists, share resources and create platforms to present dance and performance. Through their innovative programming and content, DCC cultivates audiences’ appreciation for both contemporary and traditional dance, reflects their own cultural experiences and traditions on stage, offers students opportunities to reconnect to their cultural roots, and provide spaces to address the issues facing our communities.

jean rene

Jean-Rene Delsoin (HaitiXNY Artist) began dance studies in Haiti, followed by training at the National School Dance of Jamaica, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center among other prestigious institutions. His international dance credits include appearances with American choreographer Kevin Iega Jeff’s Jubilations!, and a two-year Latin American tour with Dominican singer Angela Carrasco. In 2004, after directing other dance projects, he ventured out on his own to form the Jean-René Delsoin Dance Center, as well as a company project now called the Compagnie de Danse Jean-René (COJRD). COJRD brings the richness of cultural expression and dances in Haiti to the world. It aims to bridge diverse communities worldwide by creating and producing dances of the highest level of artistry and versatility. For Mr. Delsoin, dance is as borderless as the dancing body is both particular and universal. Dance is accessible to all: its messages resonate in Haiti and in all reaches of the globe. Forty-five works by Mr. Delsoin and five choreographers from Haïti and abroad utilize modern, jazz and contemporary dance techniques alongside traditional Haitian dance. These dance performances explore quotidian practices and concerns in Haiti alongside universal themes. The fusion of techniques in COJRD champions the vision of a contemporary Haitian who nurtures his traditions and mores while living in the present and embracing what the future holds.


Jehyna Sahyeir (HaitiXNY Artist) sings with the Haiti-based collective Feu Vers. She studies language and interpretation at Quisqueya University. An actress in the Actelier troupe of the Pyepoudre cultural center, she performed in “The Knight of the Water” in 2012 at the Four Paths Theater Festival under the direction of Françoise Bourdut. Jehyna Sahyeir Célestin sang in a reading show during the Rencontres québécoises in 2013. She went to Dieppe, Rouen and Neufchâtel, France with Pyepoudre to play in the show “At the Crossroads of the Islands.” She presented her solo project, a demo called Slam Attitude.


Josue Azor (HaitiXNY Artist), born in 1986, is a self-taught photographer. He has been traveling around Haiti since 2008, to merge his passion for photography and his appreciation of Haitian practices. His work has been exhibited regularly in Haiti, at the Brazil-Haiti Cultural Centre, the French Institute, and Fondasyon Konesans ak Libete (FOKAL). Internationally, his works have been exhibited in Rome, Italy (2010), Montréal, QC, Canada (2011), Durham, NC, USA (2015).

lavi miyo pic

Kriyol Dance! Collective, founded in 2016, is a collective of artist-leaders working together to create one platform advocating for the unapologetic voices of Black arts, and Haitian culture in particular, through collaborative and unified work and intervention. Each artist participating in the collective creates original work focused on the preservation of Black diasporic culture, Haitian culture, and the promotion of Haitian life through engagements arts. Artist-leaders work to develop innovative and multi-pronged approaches to use art as a tool for commentary as opposed to simply entertainment.  ​The group uses dance, music, poetry, and writing to develop, advance, and uplift our communities. Currently, this work is centered in Brooklyn, New York and in Port-au-Prince, Haiti through the partnership and lasting influence of Societe St. Michel Archange, its members, and its extended youth community living in Rue Magazine de L’etat.


Maksaens Denis (HaitiXNY Artist) graduated from the Ecole Supérieure de l’Audiovisuel (ESRA) of Paris, France (1992). He participated as an artist in residence in several places: Donko Seko space in Bamako, Mali (2011), Institut Français de Brazzaville in Congo (2011) , Greatmore Studios of Capetown in South Africa (2009) and the Société des Arts Technologiques SAT in Montréal, Canada (2002). In 2010, he was involved in the project _trans- realized in Madagascar, Haiti and Cameroun, under the aegis of Revue Noire & AfricAmericA. Maksaens Denis also realized E Pluribus Unum, a documentary on the sculptors of the Grand’Rue of Port-au-Prince, André Eugène and Jean Hérard Céleur (2002) ; L’Arbre de la Liberté the question of religion (2004) and is often involved in multidisciplinary collaborative projects (dance, theatre, video).


Renegade Performance Group (RPG) was founded in Brooklyn in 2007 to engage a new generation of audiences to performance, media, and culture. The company was formed as an artistic outlet to foster dialogue compelled by the human experience. Since the company’s inception, RPG has performed throughout NYC, domestically, and internationally. RPG has received several residencies, awards and support for its ongoing work from institutions such as the Jerome Foundation, CUNY/Dance Initiative, the Brooklyn Arts Council, Harlem Stage, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Brooklyn Museum, MoCADA, Danspace Project, The Studio Museum of Harlem, 3LD Art & Technology Center and The Kennedy Center.

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Lakou NOU Ann Pale with 2017 Artists | Recap



On Friday, February 9, 2018 at FiveMyles Gallery, HCX held an Ann Pale | Café Conversation featuring 2017 Lakou NOU Artists in Residence Diane Exavier, Glenda Lezeau, and Jasmine Plantin. The evening featured a performance by Diane Exavier herself, reading a reflective essay on her project, and a discussion moderated by Véronëque Ignace, Programs Coordinator and former Lakou NOU 2016 artist resident.

Ignace began the conversation with the following introduction :

Who am I? – Programs Coordinator, Dancer, Public Health Practitioner, Former Lakou NOU 2016 Resident in East Flatbush

The Lakou NOU program, now in its third cycle, is a true example of what it means to provide solid opportunities for artists to engage with communities – often times their own – in such a way that embodies reciprocity. Artists learn how to create art, platform issues, and work toward impacting change. Community residents participate in the building of that work, getting exposed to high quality art built with and for them. Often times, the relationships built are durational where artists continue the work they’ve created or expect to be still developing in their Lakou.

Jumping right into it, would you each say your name, who you are as an artist, and what your Lakou NOU 2017 project was?

During the conversation, 2017 Lakou NOU artists answered critical questions about what exactly it means to be an artist in this current sociopolitical moment; how their Lakou NOU 2017 project fit within the broader context of what Brooklyn communities are facing in general and with regards to what Haitian people living in the diaspora are facing; and what the artists have been moved to do since the Lakou NOU residency period.

Following this, Lakou NOU 2018 residents – Madjeen Isaac, Richard Louissaint, Stefani Saintonge, and Sirene Dantor Sainvil – were announced and able to provide short presentations of their work. Isaac featured a slideshow of some her defining paintings. Louissaint screened a video he created to summarize the work of Lakou NOU thus far; it can be found at the bottom of this post. Saintonge showed her short film Seventh Grade. Sainvil performed a short musical set accompanied by drummer Jean Guy Rene. Read about the new cohort here.

The evening was specially catered by Idanoise Joseph, from Ida J. & Co and photos were taken by Claire Judine Saintil. View them here.

2017 Artist Biographies

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.

Meet Past Lakou NOU Artists Here.  

To learn about past Lakou NOU projects, visit our Archives.

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: |

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