Lakou Nou 2020-2021 | Culminating Event Recap

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In June 19 in Rogers Tilden Veronica Place Block Association Community Garden, HCX hosted the 2021 Lakou NOU Culminating Event from 4-9pm to showcase the works of 2020-2021 artists in residence AnJu Hyppolite, Daveed Baptiste, and Guerdley Cajus.
The Lakou NOU Artist Residency Program provides artists of Haitian descent with the opportunity to create and present new work by connecting their skills and talents to historically underserved Brooklyn neighborhoods, home to generations of Haitians and Haitian-Americans: Crown Heights, Canarsie, East Flatbush, and Flatbush. Lakou NOU artists develop collaborative community engagement projects that address neighborhood issues and highlight community assets. The event showcases the artists’ exploration of what it means to be Haitian American, to belong to two cultures, two worlds, and to be Black in America, while also staying true to your heritage.
 
The artist projects are as follows:
Daveed Baptiste is a multidisciplinary maker working in fashion design, photography, and textiles. His migration from Haiti to America inspires all of his work. As an immigrant and queer person, his work examines the multidimensional identities of the Caribbean diaspora living in the United States. Through collaborative projects and various mediums, his work aims to decolonize notions of race, gender, and class within the Haitian community and greater Caribbean diaspora. He is a recent Parsons graduate with a BFA in Fashion Design. His photographs have been published in The New Yorker and VOGUE, and he has exhibited at Red Hook Labs and Aperture.
Daveed’s Lakou Nou project, Between Lands (East Flatbush) combines photography, printmaking, and textile design to center Haitian-American youths’ migration stories. His portraits of graduating high school seniors illustrate their dreams and imaginations in America. Daveed worked closely with The Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project and Rogers/Tilden/Veronica Place Garden to produce this work. He will host a pop-up screenprinting workshop on Photoville’s opening day in front of the exhibition.

 

Daveed Baptiste, Between Lands, Photographic Portraits, 2020.
Daveed Baptiste, Between Lands, Textile Collage, 2021.
 
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there were no graduation ceremonies in 2020. To honor the hard work and successes of newly arrived graduating Haitian youth, Daveed Baptiste partnered with The Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project and Rogers Tilden Veronica Garden to create portraits of graduating high school seniors that illustrate their dreams and imaginations in America. Before photographing, Daveed spent hours interviewing participants and working with them. These textile collages reflect each individual’s uniqueness. Daveed worked closely with The Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project and Rogers Tilden Veronica Garden to produce this work.
Guerdley Cajus is a Bed Stuy based artist who believes in the medicinal magic of movement. Her movement artwork has been featured in campaigns for New Balance, Vice, iD, and most recently Jessie Woo’s GRAMMYs at Home performance for the Recording Academy. She is also a Voice Over Artist, Teaching Artist, Yogi and Doula IT.
 
Guerdley’s Lakou Nou project, Body Poems (Crown Heights) confronts the ongoing erasure of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) voices by placing a lens on the untold stories of Haitian people. Guerdley spent her residency interviewing participants and leading workshops, in which individuals’ stories inspired movement that reclaims power and facilitates healing. Additionally, Guerdley danced at locations in Crown Heights where the brutalization of women took place to honor those women, cleanse those spaces, and claim Black female power. The culminating event features images from those performances and a dance video examining how erasure takes up space in the Black body. Guerdley will also lead a pop-up movement workshop on Photoville’s opening day in front of the exhibition. Her dance video is available to view below.
Guerdley Cajus, Body Poems, Video (4 minutes), 2021.
 
Choreographed and produced by Guerdley Cajus, featuring dance performances by Guerdley Cajus, Stephanie Pena and Imani Wilburg. Cinematography by Jonathan Dexter. Set design by Steven Baboun, assisted by Yvena Despagne. Gown Design by Naana Ohene. Mask Design by Charlotte Charles.
 
Guerdley devoted her Lakou NOU residency to countering the ongoing erasure of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) voices by placing a lens on the untold stories of Haitian women. Guerdley spent her residency interviewing participants, and conducting workshops in which individuals’ stories inspired movement that embodies self actualization and facilitates healing. With choreography inspired by participants’ love letters to Black women, Body Poems examines how erasure takes shape in the black body, and reclaims power through movement, affirmation and reimagination.
Guerdley Cajus, Shaping Space, 2021.
 
Site specific dance performance by Guerdley Cajus, Love letters to Black women by Natasha Gaspard, Madjeen Isaac, and Claudia Maturell. Photography by Emily Schiffer.
 
Guerdley Cajus visited locations throughout Crown Heights where Black women have been brutalized. To honor these women, cleanse space and reclaim the Black woman’s body, Guerdley danced at each location. Fliers explaining her performance were distributed onsite, and viewers were invited to write love letters to Black women.
Guerdley Cajus, acrylic paint on mirror, 2021
 
Viewers are invited to see themselves in quotations from Guerdley Cajus’ participant’s interviews.
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