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Lakou NOU 2018 | Istwa Nan Je Yo by Richard Louissaint


Istwa by Richard

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.”

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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.

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NYC Premier of Compagnie de Dance Jean René Delsoin


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Curated by Régine M. Roumain, Executive Director of HCX, this year’s festival is an ode to artists, inspired by Haiti’s revolutionary spirit. Beginning May 6 and ending June 29, 2018, Ayiti ANGAJE/Atis ANGAJE presents talent whose artistic practice is rooted in social justice. Through creativity, expression, and community, this two-month festival will bring together over thirty emerging, mid-career and established artists to present their work in mainstage and community venues in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

On two dates in June, HCX will be hosting the New York City Premiere of Haiti-based dance company, Compagnie de Danse Jean-René (COJRD), created by pioneer dancer Jean-René

Delsoin, who began his 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, had international dance credits 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.

COJRD will be performing at the following venues:

JRD Promo. (1)
HaitiXNY performance by Compagnie de Danse Jean-René Delsoin at the Hudson Guild
Wednesday, June 6th | 7:30pm
Hudson Guild Theatre | 441 W 26th St, New York, NY 10001

Selebrasyon Ann Pale 2018 - JRD Mark Morris
Ann Pale, Master class and HaitiXNY performance by Compagnie de Danse Jean-René Delsoin at Mark Morris Dance Center
Sunday, June 10th | 12 – 5pm
Mark Morris Dance Center | 3 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Purchase Tickets Here.

For more information on Selebrasyon! and sponsorship opportunities please contact Haiti Cultural Exchange at 347-565-4429 or email

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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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