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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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Continuing Solidarity Around the Rally Against Racism


On Monday, January 15th, 2018, 
Haiti Cultural Exchange participated in the 
Rally Against Racism in Times Square.

HCX merged efforts with many other individuals and organizations to protest racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. HCX held a poster and banner making session the day before, and on the day of, we met up with Kriyol Dance! musicians and activist Rara band djaRARA to travel to the rally together in solidarity!

HCX facilitated performances by Gina Athena Ulysse and Jeffrey Dessources (MRJEFFDESS), calling to action attendees and the arts culture community. Find pictures of the event here.

In efforts to continue the conversation and ensure that our efforts are not just reactionary but result in longer term possibilities for collective action, below we have sourced a list of upcoming actions, relevant news articles, and resources to help. Please contact us to contribute to this list.



Community & Immigrant Resources:

  1. Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
  2. New York Immigration Coalition
  3. IGSS Services
  4. The Office of Council Member Mathieu Eugene, in partnership with New York Legal Assistance Group and Legal Aid Society, will be providing free legal services for Haitian TPS Re-registration. Clinics will be held today through March 15th, 2018. Please come to our District Office (900 Rogers Avenue) or call 718-287-8762 to make an appointment.

TPS Haiti 2018 Flyer

Related News:

  1. NYC Immigration Activist Jean Montrevil Speaks Out After Deportation to Haiti: “My Heart Is Broken.”


Posted in Archive, Social Justice | No Comments »

Ann Pale with Lakou NOU 2017!


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.


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:

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.


Posted in An n' Pale, Archive | No Comments »

Nubian Nene’s Crown Heights Creatives | Lakou NOU Recap


Happy New Year! We’re starting 2018 by reflecting on artist-in-residence Nadine “Nubian Nene” Sylvestre’s presentation of her project “Crown Heights Creatives.” The event concluded the Lakou NOU 2017 presentation series on December 22nd and sent us off into the holiday season motivated to breathe, move, and meditate on the impact we have on our neighborhoods.


Nene’s residency and culminating project was based on her belief that basic human services are things a city should provide its residents. In “Crown Heights Creatives”, Nene documents the personal perspective of residents on environmental justice and access to healthy public spaces. She assesses the Crown Heights community needs, raises awareness about the presence of local street farms, gardens and the availability of healthy foods, and engages the creatives of that community to share their skills, expertise and teachings towards collective action.

The event included live drumming and original music by Lakou NOU 2016 residents Okai Fleurimont & DJ Sabine Blaizin, a dance class taught by Nene herself, live painting by Haitian-American visual artist Madjeen Isaac, and a multi-media video and performance installation conceptualized by Nene for this residency. Photographer and videographer Richard Louissant helped to create the video installation, accentuating the way Nene’s movement reflected on space-based relationships and inheritance.

In her new performance piece created for the Lakou NOU residency, Nubian Nene pulls from her Haitian heritage, connecting the dots between Crown Heights, its residents, and herself – a Haitian-Canadian woman living in Brooklyn.  She danced in honor and in portrayal of Kouzen Zaka, the agriculture/harvest/hard worker lwa of Haitian Vodou. By doing this she further enforced the idea of community collective action and relationship to space.

NUBIAN NENE Lakou Nou Performance – Friday, December 22, 2017 from Richard Louissaint on Vimeo.

Find more photos from Nene’s event on Facebook by clicking 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: |

Posted in Archive, Dance, HCX Programs, Lakou NOU, Music, Uncategorized | No Comments »

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