Gabriel Bien-AimeHaiti b. 1951
Untitled (Christ on the Road to Calvary) 90.0031
Bien-Aimé was introduced to metal sculpting by one of the LouisJuste brothers in the town of Croix-des-Bouquets, a village known for the towering presence of Georges Liautaud, the "father" of Haitian sculpture. Bien-Aimé added his own innovation to the sculpture tradition established by Liautaud -- he made his works three-dimensional by twisting the metal or clamping additional pieces to it with strands of old toilet chain or paper clips placed end-to-end. His uninhibited sense of humor is an underlying presence in all of his work. This wonderful composition is framed by two trees and the earth and is hieratic, that is the most important figures are larger than the others. Also, Bien-Aimé tends to make his female figures smaller in his sculpture to underscore the power inequities prevalent in Haiti. The composition can also be viewed as a zonbi tableau. Zonbi or zombies are part of Haitian folklore and serve to articulate loss of control of self suffered during slavery. Loss of power through chaining and manacling is also a frequent motif used by Bien-Aimé. Flowers bloom under Christ's feet as the bearded Roman soldier/zonbi sorcerer pulls a bearded Christ along and a young woman attempts to intercede as her body forms the shape of a cross.
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