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In rural Haiti, the Lakou communal living system embodies the intersection of land, family, and spirituality.  Lakou members develop reciprocal patterns of resource sharing and jointly work the land.  Lakou NOU (“Our Yard” in Haitian Creole), HCX’s newest program, is a creative adaption of this traditional model. This project provides four artists of Haitian descent with the opportunity to create and present new work by connecting their skills and talents to four traditionally underserved Brooklyn neighborhoods, home to generations of Haitians and Haitian-Americans: Crown Heights, Canarsie, East Flatbush, and Flatbush. Lakou NOU artists are provided with a stipend of $3,750 for the development, implementation, documentation, and evaluation of projects; access to a network of other artists, community leaders, and local organizations; a platform to showcase their work to varied audiences; and the opportunity to develop leadership skills while becoming more acquainted with social issues affecting Brooklyn communities. 

Lakou NOU 2017 Artists:

Diane Exavier 2

Diane Exavier (East Flatbush) uses her Lakou NOU residency to develop her original play Good Blood. With “Each Body is a Miracle,” Exavier delves deeper into some of the play’s issues and themes of immigration, partnership/intimacy, and health through social practice. She segments her project into three parts: 1) field notes, where she asks, what health issues are most affecting the lives and bodies of Haitian community members in East Flatbush today? 2) community crafting, where she’ll facilitate a floral crown making workshop, related to the Haitian traditional practice of plasaj, where participants of any age can attend and through a brief meditative   exercise, decide the conditions under which they want to live, and 3) reportage, an exercise in active dramaturgy, combining research and documentation with live performance. She aims to compile her field notes into a brief report on pertinent health issues facing Haitian residents in East Flatbush and create a photobook sharing portraits from the Community Crafting event. Both will be available to view and peruse at a final reading of Good Blood, the play that serves as inspiration to this entire residency.

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.

For details on Diane’s culminating event click here.

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Glenda Lezeau (Canarsie) Canarsie’s Konpa Celebration is designed to celebrate the beautiful sounds of Konpa and Haitian Culture in a community that is historically Haitian and that lacks convening spaces so integral to building and sustaining communities. With a community dance fitness session, Konpa dance showcase, and special musical performance by the artist herself, Glenda Lezeau builds a celebration that uplifts Haitian music and dance while allowing people to come together as one. The event will feature Konpa music all throughout, catering by Fleurimond Catering, and special giveaways!

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.

For details on Glenda’s culminating event click here.


Jasmine Plantin (Flatbush), a textile and fashion artist, in #PWOTEKSYON, will be exploring culture as mode of protection for the Haitian Diaspora in Flatbush through a two part evening, beginning with a panel discussion between Caribbean creatives highlighting how their heritage influences their work and introducing students to different artistic fields. The evening will end with an exhibition of narrative wearable art that she has developed in partnership with Haitian artisans highlighting the different periods of Haitian history.

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.

For details on Jasmine’s culminating event click here.

Nubian Nene (Nadine Sylvestre) (Crown Heights) believes that basic human services are things a town should provide its residents. A Crown Heights resident, Nubian Nene has observed the way residents contribute to street pollution. In “Crown Heights Creatives,” Nubian Nene documents the personal perspective of residents on the matter, assesses the community needs, raises awareness about the presence of local street farms, gardens and the availability of healthy foods in our grocery stores, and engages the creatives of Crown Heights to share their skill set, expertise and teachings to mobilize the community. She pulls from her Haitian heritage by creating a video series of her dancing in community gardens, connecting the dots between Crown Heights, its residents, and herself – a Haitian-Canadian woman living in Brooklyn. By dancing in this way, Nubian Nene portrays Kouzen Zaka, the agriculture/harvest/hard worker lwa further enforcing the idea of community action.

Nubian Nene is known mostly for her Waacking and House dance styles. Her ultimate goal is to constantly inspire through actions, words and dance.  She has performed at Fringe Festivals with KINEMATIK Dance Theater and at the Cultch Theater in Vancouver with ‘Bboyizm’ Dance Company. She has also been featured in music videos for Jose James and Michelle Williams alongside the likes of Beyonce and Kelly Rowland. She has taught at the Unity Festival in Toronto, the Ladies of Hip Hop Festival in Vienna and NYC, the Illadelph and Funky Fundamentals Festivals in Philadelphia, and at the International Waacking Festival in Los Angeles.

For details on Nene’s culminating event click here.

Special thanks to the Lakou NOU 2017 Advisory Committee:

Sabine Blaizin, Alicia Boone, Sherley Davilmar, Okai Fleurimont, Veroneque Ignace, Kassandra Khalil, Wynnie Lamour, Régine M. Roumain

To learn about the 2016 Lakou NOU projects, visit our Archives.

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About Our Programs

We seek to enrich the cultural landscape of New York City by developing, presenting and promoting a wide array of quality visual and performing arts, as well as educational and public affairs programs including:

  • Performing Arts
  • Visual Arts
  • Literary Arts
  • Youth Development
  • Artist Development
  • Public Forums
  • Community Building
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