Lakou NOU 2020-2021 | Recap

Lakou NOU 2020-2021 Recap

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On 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:
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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.
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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.

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Daveed Baptiste, Between Lands, Photographic Portraits, 2020.
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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.
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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 here.
Performance Photo
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.
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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.
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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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AnJu Hyppolite is a Brooklyn-born, Queens-bred award-winning actor, writer, director, and educator. She works with NYC arts organizations as a teaching artist and facilitates theater arts, improvisation, devised theatre, and playwriting workshops with NYC public school youth and community members.
 
AnJu’s Lakou Nou project, Project Unearth (Canarsie), explores the multiplicities of identity within the Haitian-American experience. AnJu has spent fifteen months in conversation with Haitian-American women. Her storytelling workshop produced a script describing moments of strength, power, vulnerability, learning/unlearning, and self-actualization. The women used their voices to stand in their truth, bravely, and vulnerably as they shared their experiences. On Photoville’s opening day, AnJu will do a pop up performance in front of the exhibition. Audio recordings of participants stories are also available online.
 
AnJu Hyppolite, Project Unearth, Sound Installation, 2021
 
Project Unearth explores the multiplicities of identity within the Haitian-American experience. AnJu spent the past year and a half in conversation with Haitian-American women who shared moments of strength, power, vulnerability, learning, unlearning, freedom, and self-actualization. The women used their voices to stand in their truth, bravely and vulnerably, as they shared their experiences.
 
The recordings are excerpts from the storytelling workshops and were:
  • Selected and copy edited by: AnJu Hyppolite
  • Edited and mixed by: Gifford “Rx Pandemyk” Hyppolite, Sound Engineer at The Sound Lab in Brockton, MA
  • Audio: read and recorded remotely by the participants in their respective homes, except for Nadine Juste’s story, which was recorded live by AnJu Hyppolite, with Audio Producer Fuljens Henry, Deputy Executive Director of the Haitian-American Community Coalition

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AnJu Hyppolite, Project Unearth, Quotes, 2021
 
Project Unearth explores the multiplicities of identity within the Haitian-American experience. AnJu spent the past year and a half in conversation with Haitian-American women who shared moments of strength, power, vulnerability, learning, unlearning, freedom, and self-actualization. The women used their voices to stand in their truth, bravely and vulnerably, as they shared their experiences.
 
The quotes are excerpts from the storytelling workshops and were:
  • Selected and copy edited by: AnJu Hyppolite
 
 
AnJu Hyppolite, Project Unearth, Interactive Exercise, 2021
 
While listening to the audio and during the live performance, take a piece of magnetic sheet and write down any words, phrases, or sentences that resonate with you. You can also express the emotions these stories stir up in you. Then, head over to the green shed and place your magnet there, and begin to arrange people’s words and phrases into poems.
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AnJu Hyppolite, Project Unearth, Live Performance, 2021
 
Project Unearth explores the multiplicities of identity within the Haitian-American experience. AnJu spent the past year and a half in conversation with Haitian-American women who shared moments of strength, power, vulnerability, learning, unlearning, freedom, and self-actualization. The women used their voices to stand in their truth, bravely and vulnerably, as they shared their experiences.
 
The live performance features excerpts from the participants’ stories and AnJu’s self-interview. AnJu used their stories and found poetry*, to weave the stories into a tapestry that displays the nuance and complexity of the Haitian-American journey, showing that even in the knitting of like specificities, each stitch holds varied, distinct truths.
 
*Found poetry is poetry that is created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them (a literary equivalent of a collage) by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning.
 

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