Archive for the ‘Lakou NOU’ Category

Lakou NOU 2018 | Istwa Nan Je Yo by Richard Louissaint


Istwa by Richard

Join Haiti Cultural Exchange’s Lakou NOU 2018 artist in residence Richard Louissaint for a film screening and discussion.

Places, whether it be a childhood home, the local bodega, the park you spent your days during long summers, hold some sort of significant memory that seem insignificant until you recall it.

Louissaint’s culminating Lakou NOU event will feature an exploration of change and history in Haitian East Flatbush through the words of Haitian organizations and businesses. With special guest Herold Dasque, Community Relations Consultant for Haitian-Americans United for Progress.

Follow the progress of Istwa Na Je Yo here.

DATE/TIME: Saturday, November 3, 4-6PM
LOCATION: HAUP Brooklyn | 1760 Nostrand Ave | Brooklyn NY MAP
That the 2 or 5 train to Beverly Rd Station. Walk 2 blocks south along Nostrand Ave.

Richard Louissaint (East Flatbush) is a first generation Haitian-American filmmaker and photographer from New York City. Growing up in Queens, he was exposed to a wide spectrum of the Caribbean diaspora but was primarily influenced by Haitian and African-American culture. His obsession with music led to him to writing for music magazines and websites before pursuing a career as a photographer and filmmaker. His work centers on  people of color, especially those of Haitian descent,  through portraiture, film and documentaries. He has been published in Wax Poetic Magazine, MTV and the New York Times.  His work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba and he had his first solo show in Petionville, Haiti in 2014. His films have screened at the Haiti Film Fest, New York Short Film Festival, and Newark International Film Festival. Richard also holds a MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

Richard is interested in the idea of place memory. He explains that “place, whether it be a childhood home, the local bodega, the park you spent your days during long summers hold some sort of significant memory and some that may seem insignificant until you recall them.” Considering this, he seeks to build an interactive visual project that addresses how place memory can be influenced by rapid gentrification. He asks, “how can you retrieve…memories from a space that has been turned into a looming 40-story glass building?”

As his primary course of action, Richard will communicate with businesses in East Flatbush – young and old – to document their stories, their perceptions of the community, and to help enforce their ability to succeed. This work is timely as it occurs with the launch of the Little Haiti Business and Cultural District. Richard hopes to use this as a launching pad for building connections with his lakou.

The information he collects will help to create a digital app, accessed through a unique QR code for each business. He says, “I want the archive to live online and be something that can be updated with other businesses in the future. I want it to evolve as more innovative technologies get refined for more immersive experiences. That could mean 360 videos of the business spaces or user contributions that can create a shared experience.”

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

Lakou NOU 2018 | Demanbre: Herbal Wellness and Haitian Heritage by Sirene Dantor Sainvil



Demanbre_Herbal Wellness and Haitian Heritage

Sirene Dantor Sainvil (Canarsie) 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. Paying homage to the asòtò drum, the mother of all African descended drums, her mission is to encourage identity building for all Haitians but particularly for Haitian American youth who are the next generation of Haitian culture and Vodou.

As part of  her Lakou NOU 2018 residency, she is developing research to answer the question: Where is the heritage of Haitian people in Canarsie preserved? How do we participate in it?

Her goal is to use her skill as a Haitian culture preservationist, singer, and Vodou herbalist to learn about the culture in Brooklyn communities, document the changes in Canarsie, and encourage people to visit Canarsie spaces. She seeks to create spaces for community dialogue through her “Fey Nan Bwa” workshops.

These workshops will take place in each of the four main Lakou/Haitian communities delineated through the Lakou NOU program – Flatbush, East Flatbush, Canarsie, and Crown Heights. They intend to create a space where people can talk, learn about tradition, and share stories about their history in Brooklyn and in the Canarsie community.

Sirene says, “At Fey Nan Bwa people, Haitian and otherwise, coming out learn about things they never knew. It is a way to have people be in fellowship with one another.”

Current workshop dates include:

Fey Nan Bwa Series | Flatbush to Canarsie
DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 28th | 1-3pm
LOCATION: Q Gardens Community Farm | 70 E 18th St, Brooklyn, NY 11226

Fey Nan Bwa Series | East Flatbush to Canarsie
DATE/TIME: Saturday, May 19th | 1-5pm
LOCATION: Brooklyn Fete | 70 E 18th St, Brooklyn, NY 11226

Fey Nan Bwa Series | Canarsie 
DATE/TIME: Sunday, June 3rd | 1-3pm
DATE/TIME: Saturday, July 7th | 2-4pm
LOCATION: Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum | 5816 Clarendon Rd, Brooklyn, NY 11203

Sirene’s culminating event will occur:

DATE/TIME: Friday, July 27th | 6-9pm
LOCATION: Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum | 5816 Clarendon Rd, Brooklyn, NY 11203

This event is about presenting the research I have completed in Canarsie and with residents. Through it attendees will prioritize making long lasting relationships and friendships. I hope to activate our tradition through Vodou to pay homage to our ancestors, use their energy and strength to be a part of the legacy to preserve Haitian Culture in Canarsie and to facilitate connectedness there. Bringing together a community of Vodouist with guests, and through the power of the drums, “Demanbre” seeks to create a sense of pride and power within us despite circumstances that encourage separation and negativity. The ultimate goal is to treat this residency as the beginning of a longer process for building community in Canarsie and building demand for Haitian culture preservation there.

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

Lakou NOU 2018 Collaborative Performance & Youth Activities for Selebrasyon!


Lakou NOU & E43

Lakou NOU 2018 Collaborative Performance & Youth Activities

Lakou NOU 2018 artists Madjeen Isaac, Richard Louissaint, Stefani Saintonge, and Sirene Dantor Sainvil will be merging their artistic talents together to present a collaborative work featuring a youth activities center at the East 43rd Street Community garden, a 501 c(3) non profit organization. Join us for an eventful evening of Haitian drumming, singing, painting, and community youth banner writing about “What does your Lakou and garden mean to you?”

Date/Time: Saturday, June 16th | 4 – 6pm
Location: East 43rd Street Community Garden | 1087 E 43rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11210

A Note From Our Community Partner:

The East 43rd Street Community garden a 501 c(3) non profit organization located at 1087 East 43 street, between Ave I and J, in Brooklyn. It is a 4000 square feet garden featuring a dozen raised beds and a children’s section. The garden is recruiting young people, adults, and senior adults to work with us in maintaining a place where the community to grow food and relationships.

For more information:



Instagram: @engagedresidents


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.

Download the Selebrasyon! Event List.

Posted in Archive, Crafts, HCX Collaborations, Lakou NOU, Selebrasyon!, Youth Programs | No Comments »

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: |

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

« Older Entries | Newer Entries »