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Fèt Gede at Pioneer Works


hcx fet gedeHaiti Cultural Exchange and Pioneer Works dedicate a night to Haitian Vodou and the ancestral dead with a Fèt Gede.

Live DJ sets by Val Inc. and DJ Sabine, performances by Sheila Anozier and Okai, and a ceremony (10pm) led by houngan Jean-Daniel Lafontant.

Fèt Gede celebrates ancestors, death and life by venerating the pantheon of gede lwa (spirits) through music, dance, food and offerings.

The gede are said to be the liveliest of all the lwa, the polyrhythmic sounds and fast-paced movements of the dancers are used as further attractors for them to manifest themselves here in the realm of the living. Each and every sacred object and performance is an invitation for the gede to travel to this realm as well as to honor and celebrate them. The Vodou-inspired artworks included in the PÒTOPRENS exhibition currently on view at Pioneer Works highlight the extent to which the religious practice inspires and feeds Haiti’s artists. A fèt gede further highlights this link between Vodou and art by activating the object’s divinity.

Free! $10 suggested donation
Click here to RSVP.

DATE/TIME: Friday, November 2, 7PM-12AM
LOCATION: Pioneer Works | 159 Pioneer Street | Brooklyn, NY MAP
Take F/G trains to Smith-9th Street Station or B61 bus to King Street stop. Or take the NYC Ferry from South Brooklyn (SBK) to Red Hook/Atlantic Basin.

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Haitian Creole Symposium | Ann Pale Kreyòl


Symposium on creole

Haiti Cultural Exchange is pleased to curate the closing night of the Haitian Creole Symposium presented by the Haitian-American Foundation for Educational and Cultural Exchange.

Join us for a conversation with Haitian cultural scholar Dr. Nixon Cleophat and visual artist Klode Garoute.

The evening will feature performances by spoken word artist Schneider Laurent and musicians Markus Schwartz & Samba Kebyesou.

Catered reception provided by Grandchamps.

Click here to see the full Haitian Creole Symposium schedule.

DATE/TIME: Sunday, October 28, 3-7PM
LOCATION: Five Myles Gallery | 558 St Johns Pl | Brooklyn, NY MAP
Take the 2/3/4/5/S trains to Franklin Ave. Walk north to St Johns Place and turn right.

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Lakou NOU 2018 | Lakay Nou: Creating Flatbush Island Through Cultural Identity by Madjeen Isaac


Lakay Nou by Madjeen Isaac

Join Haiti Cultural Exchange’s Lakou NOU 2018 artist in residence Madjeen Isaac for an art exhibition and open discussion regarding cultural identity.

What if Flatbush were its own Island? This exhibition of the Flatbush area reveals a juxtaposition between urban and tropical landscape. Unusual yet nostalgic because it feels like home. From merchants selling herbs and vegetables on the street, to cab drivers transitioning from tap-taps to dollar vans, these small businesses provide leeway for immigrants to adapt and work towards new opportunities. These paintings serve as a learning point about the lives of Haitian immigrants and first generation Americans residing within the community.

DATE/TIME: Friday, October 19, 6-9PM
LOCATION: Beverley Social Club | 1016 Beverly Rd | Brooklyn, NY MAP
That the Q train to Beverly Rd Station, turn left and walk 5 blocks.

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Madjeen Isaac (Flatbush) specializes in oil painting, as she focuses on creating images based on her Haitian American culture. Growing up in a neighborhood where it is predominantly Caribbean immigrants, Isaac allowed her process to give her a sense of purpose from the memories and cultures that have shaped her. She says, “Flatbush is where I have lived most of my life. Flatbush is a place that emits culture and hustle. Overtime, I have developed a concern for immigrant youth and children of immigrants, becoming “Americanized” or assimilated out of fear, without reflecting back on the culture of their ancestors”. Her works are based on celebrating one’s existence and differences while showing patronage to the Haitian culture. Madjeen currently attends the Fashion Institute of Technology, and is expected to receive her BFA in Fine Art, May 2018.

Her Lakou NOU 2018 project, Lakay Nou: Creating Flatbush Island Through Cultural Identity, stems from her last two years at the Fashion Institute of Technology; the recent works she created there are based on Flatbush itself, “…the neighborhood that has shaped me as well as contributed to my Haitian American upbringing.” Throughout her artistic journey, the cultural fusion she’s created with Brooklyn and Haiti landscapes allowed for her to tap into how her Haitian roots are manifested within everyday life in Brooklyn, and how immigrants have rebuilt their lives after settling in Flatbush.

She says:

The inherited lifestyle of hustle that Caribbean immigrants seem to withhold reveals their resilience through their long standing businesses such as, their transportation services known as tap-taps, storefront churches and merchants selling herbs in the street imported from the islands. All of which I have incorporated into my paintings. Although I was fully invested in the idea of merging both urban and tropical, my process also allowed for me to compare my younger self and my present self. Breaking barriers of stigmatism I’ve always been taught to believe of the place my parents came from. I realized that during my painting journey, the works I’ve created were deeper than merging two worlds together. It allowed for me to understand why preserving my observations and showcasing my perspective was crucial for me to claim my Haitian American identity.

Her focus as Lakou NOU artist-in-residence working in  Flatbush, will be to expand her work by focusing primarily on Haitian youth. She will be facilitating art making workshops with a core group, guiding them to weave in the parts of their culture that are not so obviously relatable nor taught at school. These workshops will cover topics as such, “ how will the youth go about exploring their culture and forming their own identities? ” and “ how can art making be a catalyst in forming narratives about the Flatbush community in the perspective of the youth?”

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Lakou NOU 2018 | Temporary Protected Status by Stefani Saintonge


stefani saintonge flyer
Join Haiti Cultural Exchange’s Lakou NOU 2018 artist in residence  Stefani Saintonge for a discussion and screening on deportations & TPS.

Throughout 2018, Stefani Saintonge has gathered anecdotes from TPS holders and their family members in Crown Heights and throughout Brooklyn, documenting their journey to the US, their work since arriving here and their current state in order to highlight the human stories behind this issue. Some of these interviews were conducted on camera, based on the comfort level of participants. Saintonge has also looked to capture knowledge from field experts and community leaders on the current state of relations between Haitian immigrants and the US.

Saintonge will offer select excerpts from interviews and observational footage and join in discussion  with organizers Albert Saint-Jean (BAJI, Black Alliance for Just Immigration) and Janay Cauthen (former wife of Jean Montrevil, Co-Founder of New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City).

DATE/TIME: Saturday, December 8, 3PM
LOCATION: Brooklyn Children’s Museum | 145 Brooklyn Ave | Brooklyn, NY MAP
Take the 3 to Kingston Ave, A/C to Nostrand Ave, or C to Kingston/Throop Aves.

TPS by Stefani

Stefani Saintonge (Crown Heights) is a Haitian-American filmmaker and educator. In 2014 she won the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Discovery Award for her short film, Seventh Grade. Her documentary, La Tierra de los Adioses, won Best Latin American Short Documentary at the Festival Internacional de Cine en el Desierto. Her work, which focuses on women, youth and immigration, has screened at several festivals in the US and abroad. A member of New Negress Film Society, she is a recipient of the Jerome Foundation Film and Video Grant, and works as an educator and adjunct professor in New York. She holds an MFA in Documentary Film Studies and Production.

For her Lakou NOU project, she intends to research current TPS holders as well as community leaders and activists fighting to have it extended.

There are currently 58,000 Haitians with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), with 20,000 living in New York. The US granted TPS in response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, which declared that any Haitian immigrant residing in the US without permanent residency could apply. The Obama administration had consistently extended the program, but the Trump administration intends to put a stop to it leaving the 58,000 at risk to losing their documentation. TPS is due to end by July 2019 making this year a crucial moment.

From May to August 2018, she will work within Brooklyn particularly Crown Heights to gather anecdotes from TPS holders and their family members documenting their journey to the US, their work since arriving here and their current state in order to highlight the human stories behind this issue. The interviews will be conducted on and off camera depending on the comfort level of participants. She will also interview people in Haiti inquiring on their plans in case their family member is forced to return.

In addition, she will conduct on-camera interviews with experts and community leaders.

She plans to bring together the TPS families she would have been working with for 2-3 private events where they can meet each other, connect and share in an attempt at collectivizing. She will invite a community organizer for one event to do training on self-advocacy, and, an additional event will feature a community healer for a group talk on strategies for managing anxiety amongst state violence.

During her final project event, she will present the resulting footage at a space in Crown Heights for a public, educational forum on the current status of TPS to inform audiences interested in the struggle. The event will blend facts, personal anecdotes, excerpts from interviews and observational footage. She will also invite willing TPS holders as well as community leaders to participate in the forum.

The goal at the end of her residency will be to generate an audio/ visual record of current Haitian TPS holders as well as use the collected footage as foundational research for a possible in-depth film to be completed in the future.

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