Archive for the ‘Visual Art’ 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 »

Introducing the HCX Artist Directory: An Online Platform Showcasing Diverse Creative Talents of the Haitian Diaspora

01.12.16

Artist Directory pic

You’re Invited to Join the HCX Artist Directory

 

HCX’s mission is to develop, present, and promote Haitian Arts & Culture in New York City. Supporting artists of the Diaspora is a huge part of this work.  HCX Receives requests for artist recommendations from a wide range of entities, including prominent cultural institutions and schools. In order to ensure that we are representing a comprehensive cross-section of the Haitian Diaspora Artist community, we are creating the HCX Artist Directory. Launching in March 2016, this online platform will:

  • Showcase your work to HCX’s broad and diverse audience
  • Facilitate opportunities to perform, exhibit, and teach through referrals made by HCX to its wide network
  • Connect you to a community of Haitian Diaspora artists

Artists of all disciplines and levels of professional experience are welcome to join the HCX Artist Directory. By joining the directory, you will be part of a network of artists empowering themselves through their art and impacting communities.

Become an HCX Member Artist
to receive additional perks.

 

To get your Basic Profile or to become an
HCX Member Artist, click here!

 

Click here to learn about the HCX Lakou NOU Artist Residency Program.

Posted in Arts, Dance, Fashion, Film, Literature, Music, Photography, Poetry, Theater, Uncategorized, Visual Art | No Comments »

A Note on Lavi Miyò, Resistance & Revolisyon/Revolution – by Veroneque F. Ignace

01.06.16

Veroneque 2Consider these terms. Their definitions courtesy of Merriam-Webster:
Resilience: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
Resistance:  the ability to prevent something from having an effect
Power: a person or organization that has a lot of control and influence over other people or organizations
Empowerment: to promote the self-actualization or influence of

Consider the way in which these words are used. Apply them now to peoples of color, to the effects of institutionalized violence on them, and to their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

What have you come up with?

Perhaps a string of sentences building the personage of oppressed peoples as an embodiment of these words, in that we endure so much, yet, we persist. We persist because our histories paint pictures of strong willed black men and women who would do many things except take ‘no’ for an answer. We persist because we understand that the fight for equality is more that just that — it is war declared against those institutions and doctrines that are conspiring to systematically erase black faces from the past, present, and future.

In honor of 212 years of Haitian Independence celebrated at the beginning of the year with one oversized pot of the ceremonious and celebrated Soup Joumou (traditional pumpkin soup eaten to commemorate the victory of the Haitian Revolution), let us hone in on the stories of the Haitian community both on the island and beyond. Almost six years after the earthquake that devastated the country, many people still struggle to improve their conditions. From the continuous discordance in government, to the wavering efforts of the people to organize amidst discouragement, to the lack of proper waste disposal — all in conjunction with the struggle to bring in a steady income for food, education, etc. — challenges such as these are recurring, and especially evident in the most populated areas of the country’s capital.

Indefinitely, there are many facets to the issues that Haiti as a whole must tackle. Nonetheless, it is my contention that the first step begins with debunking the long-lived decree that Haiti is the prime incubator for resilient people, exemplifying the spirit of revolution in all that we do. Take heed, though, that to hold ideas of a future where Haiti becomes the place that my parents remember — and where being treated at L’Hopital General is not (said to be) determined by whether or not you, the patient, had access to your own gloves prior to admittance —inherently involves believing in and supporting an almost divine explanation for the capacity of your average Haitian to resist and empower. Still, I believe that we can and must do this without ignoring the unique, individual, and small incidents, and subsequent victories, that build towards those larger ideas we hold onto and cherish.

Lavi Miyò is to be my response to this dilemma. The argument at its foundation is the claim that blindly consuming the overarching and highly romanticized notions of resistance with regards to black peoples, and especially people of Haitian descent, disregards the day-to-day traumas that individuals experience, thereby belittling the journey to actually being whole and recovered persons. With the installation of this work-in-progress, done in collaboration with Haiti Cultural Exchange of Brooklyn, my hope is to engage in a first-time exchange with my own Brooklyn community, highlighting less the spirit of resistance and more the journey to becoming resistant as one individual and as a community member.

Lavi Miyò contains four sections tracing the stories of six performers, threading them together such that they become one. The point of this is to experiment with the boundaries between individuality and community. In doing so, we explore the ways in which we might reject the individual to favor maintaining a larger and all-encompassing idea of community. We aim to highlight our understanding that being a part of community is in no way synonymous with assimilation. In the same breath, we seek to explicate how giving value to individual stories of trauma and recovery does not belittle the grandiose image of community resistance and community revolutionary spirit.

Section one of the piece, ‘Birth/Naissance,’ focuses on the idea of beginnings. For example, in Vodou, the Afro-descended religion of Haiti, life begins anew when a person is an initiate. That person has the opportunity to engage in serious self-reflection ultimately leading them devote themselves to others, to prayer, to charity, to community, and to defending all of those things. Though we may define birth (i.e. where life begins) differently, the sentiment behind the idea is the same.

Section two, ‘Life/Vie,’ describes the trials and tribulations that we face everyday. Each dancer tells their individual story through movement while finding a niche in the one story being communicated through poetry. The beauty in the section is the commonality in the struggle and the process through which the dancers achieve potential success. Highlighting resistance — that you can, that sometimes you can’t, that it’s enough, and that sometimes it isn’t — is key.

Section three, ‘Death/Mort,’ discusses not only death for people, but also the death of tradition, culture, religion, and philosophy, with a particular focus on Vodou, as it is most paralleled to the identity of Haiti as revolutionary. The goal is to comment on the idea that although Afro-traditions provide us with many beautiful things, it does not mean that they are unaffected by misconceptions and by the institutions and systems working to target the livelihood of black people daily.

Section four, ‘Life-After/Au-delà,’ celebrates the spirit of community as the driver for pushing efforts toward resistance, resilience, empowerment, and ultimately liberation and recovery.

Consider these terms. Their definitions courtesy of Merriam-Webster:
Community: a unified body of individuals
Recovery: the act or process of becoming healthy after an illness or injury
Liberation: the act or process of freeing someone or something from another’s control; the act of liberating someone or something
Peace: a state of tranquillity or quiet

Consider the way in which these words are used. Apply them now to peoples of color, to the effects of institutionalized violence on them, and to their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

What have you come up with?

This post was originally posted on January 1, 2016 on Resist N Restore.

Lavi Miyò | Dance Performance and An n’ Pale featuring Veroneque F. Ignace
DATE/TIME:
Friday, January 29th | 6-9pm
LOCATION:
Haiti Cultural Exchange
558 St. John’s Place | Brooklyn, NY | MAP
Take the 2, 3, 4, or 5 train to Franklin Ave.
ADMISSION:
$10 Suggested Donation

Posted in Arts, Dance, Uncategorized, Visual Art | No Comments »

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