Archive for the ‘Archive’ Category

Haitians reflect on the Duvalier years – by Tequila Minsky, for Caribbean Life News

03.02.16

2016-02-12-tm-duvalier-cl01_zSunday, Feb. 7 marked the 30-year anniversary since Baby Doc, Jean-Claude Duvalier, exited Haiti in ignominy ending almost 30 years of the Duvalier dictatorship.

Haiti Cultural Exchange chose this date to engage the community through film, performances, reflections, personal testimonies and conversations around the impact of the Duvalier rule. The day at Shapeshifter Lab culminated HCX’s year of Revolisyon / Revolution programming.

Jonathan Demme’s Oscar-nominated film “The Agronomist,” which explores political repression and remembrance, served as an anchor of the afternoon.

The documentary about the Haitian radio personality Jean Dominique covers many eras of Haitian history as it highlights Dominique’s fight for democracy.

In many moments while watching the archival footage, the viewer recognizes how history is repeating itself. (For example, after Aristide’s departure in 2004, a two-year interim government acted as a caretaker government as Haiti readies currently for an interim government.)

In the early 60s, Dominique, who had studied agronomy, bought Radio Haiti (later, renaming it Haiti-Inter) and turned it from entertainment into a vehicle for information. He broadcast in the language of all Haitians — Kreyòl, one of the earliest stations to do so.

Speaking out against successive dictatorships, he fled the country twice: from Duvalier in 1980 and from the Cedras de facto government in 1991. He returned in 1994 continuing to use his microphone to speak out against vested interests. Dominique was assassinated in 2000.

… Read the rest of the article at Caribbean Life News.

To view pictures from this event, click here.

Posted in Archive, Arts, Events, Film, HCX Programs, Literature, Music, Photography, Poetry, Public Forums, Uncategorized, Visual Art, Weekend | No Comments »

Resist & Restore. Lavi Miyò, A Work in Progress – by Jessica Tong, Programs and Outreach Coordinator

02.19.16

intro lavi miyo 1
moderators Lavi Miyo 3

This An n’ Pale took place on Friday, January 29th, 2016 at FiveMyles Gallery and was moderated by Jessica St. Vil & Shalomisrael Diggs of Kanu Dance Theater.

Section I. Birth/Naissance
“Everything has a beginning.  Everything must begin somewhere.  In vodou, life begins anew when a person engages in serious self-reflection ultimately leading them to devoting themselves to others, to prayer, to charity, to community, and to defending all of those things”

Section II. Life/Vie
“Everyday we face the trials and tribulations and through movement we each tell our individual stories.  The beauty is that there are commonalities in our struggle and the processes through which we achieve potential success.  That is the definition of community resistance.”

Section III. Death/Mort
“Although afro-traditions provide us with many beautiful things, they too are affected by the institutions that target the lives of black people daily.  Resistance and Resilience are not synonymous for being at PEACE.”

Section IV. Life-After/Au-delà
“Despite the things that exist to knock us down, we will live as long as living is possible.  Afro-traditions will remain relevant as long as there is a god, people to keep faith, and something to be liberated from.”

Click here to view photos from the event!

birth drumers lavi miyo pic

False Prophets, a poem – by Olivier Joseph

False prophets you are a paradox:
Preach harmonies but sing chaos
Promote peace but bring catastrophe

You, false prophets, make it so damn hard to be black in America.
But to carry Haiti’s story is no simple task but a privilege we gladly accept

You, false prophets, make it so damn hard to be black in America.
But to carry Haiti’s story is no simple task but a privilege we gladly accept

Things are changing.
Haiti is alive and fighting.

Fighting to open doors to reconnect with the broken history we left in 1804.
Because as beautiful as life is it is not without flaw.
So resist and restore to make our presence known, even if the world thinks us gone

Its fighting because we are the new generation of life reborn (here) to right your wrong.

Performers include:
Naomi Faith Fields
Olivier Joseph
Laurel O’Conner
Marla Robertson
Lenl Russel

Photo’s taken by:
Richard Louissaint
Keylah Mellon
Tequila Minsky
Claire J. Saintil-Van Goodman

Posted in An n' Pale, Archive, Arts, Dance, HCX Programs, Poetry, Visual Art | No Comments »

A Screening of Cristo Rey & Purgatorio – by Keylah Mellon, HCX Communications & Outreach Intern

12.22.15

12369179_1084562961576440_8688385684167124127_n

BAM’s Peter Jay Sharp building was filled with a diverse crowd on Thursday, December 3rd for the screening of Leticia Tonos Paniagua’s Cristo Rey. Co-Presented by the Caribbean Film Academy and BAMcinematek, the main feature was preceded by a poignant short film, Pugatorio, by Haitian director Martine Jean.

Beautifully shot with deep vibrant colors and contrasts, the 12-minute movie revolves around Rosa Jean Louis and her daughter Soledad as they are questioned in a Dominican immigration office about their nationality and the authenticity of their papers despite being born in Dajabon. After being humiliated and degraded based on her Haitian sounding name and separated from her daughter, the film ends with her deportation and her crossing the border towards Haiti, a state that she knows nothing of.

While the latter film presents this almost inhumane facet of deportation in the strained Haitian-Dominican relations, Cristo Rey approaches this delicate subject in a different way.

Taking place in the slum of Cristo Rey, the story begins with Janvier, a first generation Haitian-Dominican (his mother is Haitian and father Dominican). The town is stricken by poverty, as well as an intense divide between Haitian immigrants and Dominicans, and is ruled by the drug lord El Baca.

The feature really explores and examines various aspects of what tarnishes the relationship between the people of Hispaniola: racism, prejudice, poverty, and most importantly misunderstanding.

The screening was followed by a discussion led by filmmaker Michèle Stephenson and Cristo Rey’s Director Leticia Tonos Paniagua. The most common comment was on the authenticity of the depections and Paniagua’s beautiful eye. HCX thanks all of those that came out to the screening! Special thanks to CAFA, and BAMCinématek.

Take a look at some photos here.

Posted in Archive, Arts, Events, Film, HCX Collaborations, Visual Art | No Comments »

Mesye, Dam, la Sosyete, Krik? Krak! – By Keylah Mellon, HCX Communications & Outreach Intern

11.11.15

12219386_10153614290456830_334484395673744358_n

The transmission of customs and beliefs is vital to the sustainability of a culture. Cultural activist Allenby Augustin, of Haiti based cultural organization Akoustik Prod, joined us for a week-long arts residency where he engaged a number of artists of the Haitian Diaspora and kids of our afterschool youth arts engagement program at PS 189 in the mission of his organization: the preservation and promotion of Haitian traditional arts. The workshops led to our exhilarating event, Bann Konte: a Rara Storytelling Procession.

On a beautiful fall afternoon, the Crown Heights community gathered to celebrate the Haitian tradition of oral storytelling, songs and games. The program began at FiveMyles Gallery with Djarara, the low rumbling of drums, and the calling of the Konè. The storytellers followed with chanting “Legba nan Bayè a”, accompanied by the musicians and a very enthusiastic crowd.

A woman in a bright red dress took center stage: “Mesye, dam, la sosyete, Krik? Krak! My name is Michèle and I have come here to tell you a little story.” After Michèle Voltaire Marcelin’s wonderful tale of Who Will be King in the Republic of Port-au-Prince (spoiler: Haiti Remained without a King), the festive atmosphere of Rara was only accentuated by the demonstration of traditional games including “Wòch Mache” (walking rock) and chants of “Ewa! Ewa!” The procession then left the HCX home base, parading down Eastern Parkway in the mists of joyful dancing and invigorating melodies towards the Brooklyn Public Library.

The crowd was led to the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza by an animated Gede-like figure dressed from head to toe in a purple outfit: Goussy Celestin, our second storyteller. She captivated us in her rendition of Mimi Barthelemy’s Ti Fou and the 7 Horn Monster. Allenby Augustin then led participants in a game of “Kash Kash Liben”, a hide and seek type of game where one person stealthily hides a rock amongst the players, while a designated player tries to figures out who has the object.

The last part of the procession headed to Berg’n where Schneider Laurent, Guy Guyt and Lovely Kermonde gave an expressive and intense performance reflecting on Haiti’s political, cultural and social situation, leaving us to ponder as Djarara swayed us with their last performance of the night.

Thank you to Allenby Augustin, Goussy Celestin, Schneider Laurent, Michèle Voltaire Marcelin, our funders! Tradition was the focus with HCX’s Bann Konte and we thank all who attended, came to support and helped take the streets of Crown Heights on Sunday, November 1st with traditional games, folktales and rara music.

Click here to see pictures from the event!

Posted in Archive, Arts, Dance, Events, HCX Collaborations, HCX Programs, Music, Photography, Weekend | No Comments »

« Older Entries | Newer Entries »