Riguad BenoitHaiti 1911-1986
Choucoune (Yellow Bird) 69.0029
The blighted tree is one of the most frequently used motifs of Haitian artists. It is a powerful symbol of the crises brought about by slavery in past centuries and the excesses and repression of the Duvalier regimes in the twentieth. The ecological devastation wrought by François Duvalier and his son and successor Jean-Claude have rendered Haiti a wasteland in many areas. Benoit represents this devastation by painting a forest of amputated trees surrounding a manbo (vodou priestess). However, Benoit provides an image of hope despite the suffering. The trees sprout new growth while life, symbolized by the birds, returns to the forest. Benoit's friend, artist Yves Michel, has stated that this painting is based upon a popular song, "Choucoune" ("Yellow Bird") sung by Haitian singer Martha Jean-Claude.
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