Murat BrierreHaiti 1938-1988
Untitled (Tree-Snake Lwa) 90.0015
Before becoming a professional artist, Murat Brièrre worked as a brick mason, tile setter, carpenter, and blacksmith. He painted in his free time. Fellow painter Rigaud Benoit introduced him to the Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince in 1966. It was there that Brièrre began creating metal works. He was also the first student of the master of Haitian sculpture, Georges Liautaud. Before his death, Brièrre's had become one of the country's most acclaimed artists. Many of Brièrre's works are based on religious themes. The artist was particularly interested in the metamorphosis of shapes and beings in Haitian vodou. The religion is based around the lwa (spirits) that take on many forms. These spirits are closely linked with nature and are believed to inhabit trees. The snake can also be a symbol for Danbala Wèdo, the great serpent deity that is associated with wealth, luck, and happiness. Vodou followers who are possessed by Danbala slither on the ground or climb up trees as a snake does. The lwa (spirits) can change from human to animal form, as shown by the artist. Brièrre is known for his paintings and sculpture, but not as a printmaker. He most likely made this linoleum print as a study for a later sculpture. An iron piece of this same depiction dates to the mid-1970s, although its present location is unknown.
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