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Haitian Collection

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Displaying results 21-25 (of 165)
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Gabriel Bien-Aime
Haiti b. 1951
Untitled (Woman with Vine and Birds) 90.0035

Untitled (Woman with Vine and Birds) 90.0035

The contrast between what is bound and what is loose is a frequent theme of Haitian art. Healing, in vodou, focuses upon untying what has been tied and on opening up what has been blocked. The perverted form of vodou, sorcery, is even more involved with knots and chains-sorcerers tie the spirits they use in their destructive magic and also tie persons who are victims of their magic. This woman is tied and bound in several ways. Her hair is braided (a knot tied in the hair keeps the vodou spirits from possessing a person) and her neck and waist are chained. The vine she clasps even appears to entangle her. The birds at her feet with their mouths full of prey mirror her posture.

Wilson Biguad
Haiti b. 1931
Zombies 90.0041

Zombies 90.0041

Born in Port-au-Prince, Bigaud was discovered by Hector Hyppolite, who brought him to Le Centre d'Art in 1946. During his career, Bigaud has seen much political upheaval in Haiti. In the late 1950s, his expressions turned toward violent feelings and his world was transformed into a demonic place, resulting in an emotional collapse and several nervous breakdowns between 1957 and 1961. His painting, Zombies deals with the religious fraternities known as secret societies. Today, some function as strictly religious organizations; others are used as fronts for illegal activities. For a long period, Haiti lacked the infrastructure to be truly governable from its capital city, Port-au-Prince. So, before Duvalier instituted the system of section chiefs, the countryside was in effect governed by vodou secret societies that controlled the rituals of zombification. The zonbi is characterized as lifeless because of a nerve toxin that may have been administered by members of the secret society. This would have been done clandestinely to destructive or overly offensive members of the community (usually in rural areas) as part of a mock death sentence followed by a real funeral. Later, members of the secret society would break open the grave of the "dead" person, resuscitate him or her, and banish them from the area. Sometimes brain damage would result from either the toxin or the lack of oxygen during entombment. The zonbi character is central to Haitian folklore. It articulates a memory of the loss of control over self suffered during the period of slavery--a very real cultural event in Haitian history. In Bigaud's painting the zonbi has further reference to the physical labor of slaves on Haitian plantations. The zonbi/slave is forced to do mindless labor on a plantation owned by a tyrant/sorcerer. He is led around on a leash, chained at night, and beaten when he does not respond quickly enough.

Sisson Blanchard
Haiti 1929- 1983
Volailles (Chickens) 67.0003

Volailles (Chickens) 67.0003

Born in a small village in the south of Haiti, Blanchard worked as a yard boy at Le Centre d'Art and as a model there before being encouraged to begin painting by American sculptor Jason Seley who was teaching at the Centre. Blanchard's bold patterns and persistently "naive" style seem impervious to outside influence. He favors barnyard and peasant scenes.

Seymour Bottex
Haiti 1920-1998
Jesus Falls under the Cross 2003.0014

Jesus Falls under the Cross 2003.0014

When Seymour Étienne Bottex began to paint in 1955, his older brother, Jean-Baptiste, was already an accomplished artist. In 1961, Seymour joined the famous Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince. Born in the town of Port Margot near Cap Haïtien, Bottex is sometimes compared to other artists from the north. Although he resided in New Jersey in his final years, he remained one of the "Old Masters" of Haitian painting. Jesus Falls under the Cross exemplifies Bottex's somewhat humorous depictions of biblical and historical themes. In this painting, the artist has brought the story of Christ's walk to Golgotha into contemporary Haitian life, complete with abusive soldiers and women perhaps on their way to or from the market. Known for his introduction of an element of humor, scholars have also discussed Bottex's characteristic use of color. Although Jean-Baptiste began painting first, and the two brothers depicted similar types of subject matter, it was Seymour who had the more successful career, exhibiting internationally after 1968.

Murat Brierre
Haiti 1938-1988
Untitled (Twin Figures Giving Birth) 90.0008

Untitled (Twin Figures Giving Birth) 90.0008

Displaying results 21-25 (of 165)
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