Archive for the ‘Weekend’ Category

Diane Exavier | Diaspora NOW | Taking The Time To See by Tassiana Larochelle


Taking The Time To See 

A crowd gathered at Five Myles gallery on February 9th, an unassuming Sunday afternoon. The intimate group mingled over drinks and appetizers as they casually admired the vivid art work lining the gallery walls. We had come to see a theatrical reading of Solange and Frankie Rite Love Songs in the Mourning by Diane Exavier, the last of the HCX Presents…Diaspora Now series. Diane had been a former artist-in-residence of the 2017 HCX Lakou NOU program so many were interested to experience her latest body of work.  


After a quick introduction by HCX founder and director Régine M. Roumain, Diane announced she would begin with a poem dedicated to her mother, whom had passed away. What followed was a quietly heartbreaking poetry performance that thoroughly disarmed her audience, unexpectedly bringing many (myself included) to tears. This was expertly done as Diane’s work is described as exploring “how people create new worlds in the face of environmental disaster, personal trauma and historical violence”, it was evident that she had set out not only to perform but to create a physical safe space for the audience to possibly experience emotional healing through her work. 


We were now open to emotionally engage in this play about Solange and Frankie, two lovers grappling with the aftermath of trauma. One having survived the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the other, recovering from a work accident that caused him to lose an arm in Miami. The lovers have several conversations about their soon to be born child as they attempt to work through their anxieties about the future.  


After the reading, Diane sat down with her co-star and director for a conversation with the audience about her work. Discussions arose around her creative process. She challenged us to reflect on concepts of home as both characters are physically displaced and encouraged the audience to examine how we think of healing and recovery or how we can create a home in each other even as we are physically displaced.   


There is a line in the play where Solange tells Frankie that he can’t see his life because he’s perpetually looking for it. I can say for certain that on that night, we all took some time to see. 

-Written by Tassiana Larochelle 


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Solèy Midi with Talie Cerin | Diaspora NOW


On Saturday, February 8th Haiti Cultural Exchange hosted an album listening premiere of singer/songwriter Talie’s latest project “Solèy Midi,” at FiveMyles Gallery as part of Diaspora NOW. Diaspora NOW is a platform for emerging literary and performing artists of Haitian descent to premiere works in New York City, offering opportunities for Haitians and the general public to engage with new art that highlights experiences in the Diaspora.  

Attendees sat in a semi-circle and experienced an intimate acoustic performance by Talie and her band which consisted of keyboard, bass, percussion, guitar and vocals. The audience sang along to some of her memorable tunes with lyrics in both English and Haitian Creole. The band performed songs from her new album as well as covers of Haitian songs which brought smiles to the audience’s faces.

After the band concluded their hour-long set the audience enjoyed beverages sponsored by Clairin the Spirit of Haiti and food provided by Grandchamps Restaurant.   


Solèy Midi


Listen to Solèy Midi here: 

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Harvest Homecoming | Recap


On October 20th, 2019 Haiti Cultural Exchange joined the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for their annual Harvest Festival! Mahalia Stines presented a workshop on Zaka, the loa of harvest and agriculture and Fanmi Asòtò gave a stellar performance featuring traditional Haitian tunes emphasizing the harvest theme.

Mahalia Stines is a Brooklyn based Fiber Artist and Culture Conservationist. Although formally trained as a Costume Designer at the French Fashion Academy with the Great Carole H. Beule, Mahalia has always had a strong interest in Fiber and its infinite possibilities and applications, an interest that grew from watching the Russian-Haitian Artist Tamara Baussan at work.

In recent years her practice has evolved into the production of Large scale Art Quilts, small mixed media collages and wall sculptures, incorporating the various fiber processes and skills she’s acquired over the years, from weaving, felting, embroidery, quilting to beadwork and exploring themes as varied as Mother Nature’s chaos to History.

Cultural elements from her Native Haiti often feature prominently in her work, she firmly believes that Culture is our greatest natural resource, therefore sharing the vibrant culture of Haiti is becoming a Mission. She continues to design costumes, for the last four years for Durham based Gaspard & Dancers and Brooklyn Based Fanmi Asòtò.

Fanmi Asòtò is a Haitian cultural organization whose drum performance, community workshops, and herbal teachings are rooted in Vodou. Paying homage to the asòtò drum, the mother of all African descended drums, their 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. Created in 2014 by Sirene Dantor Sainvil, with the support of her husband and master drummer Jean Guy “Fanfan” Rene, Fanmi Asòtò seeks to develop a sense of pride within the Haitian community in a way that people of all backgrounds can be attracted to.

Click here to view photos. 


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Fèt RASIN |Recap


Live in NYC from Haiti for the first time Haiti X New York resident artist Youry Vixamar brought his traditional Haitian drumming to blend with DJ Sabine Blaizin’s unique Afrobeat/Haitian Roots/House sounds at ShapeShifter Lab on October 17th, 2019.

Guests enjoyed authentic Haitian fritay provided by Ida J & Co and danced the night away to Afrobeats accompanied by Youry’s live drumming with a surprise impromptu performance by the wonderful Haitian singer James Germain.

Click here to view photos. 





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