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Struggling artists sell paintings
Struggling artists from the impoverished country of Haiti are calling on T&T to help their floundering economy by purchasing more than 100 hand-made acrylic art paintings.The art work is currently on display at the Creative Arts Centre, Circular Road, San Fernando and is being sold from $200 to $3,500. The paintings feature many tourist spots in Haiti and were created by 25 artists, some of whom still live in tents.
Language arts teacher Moise Jonas, of Petion-ville Haiti, who is marketing the paintings, said more than 300 Haitians would benefit if all of the paintings were sold. He added that some of the artists worked in makeshift studios. A few had to dry their paintings on rooftops after the devastating earthquake killed 220,000 people and injured a further 300,000 people on January 12, 2010. Jonas said one artist Chavet Kavenaght, 65, suffered vision loss after the earthquake but was still continuing to paint despite the odds. “He is one of the best artists in Haiti and he is old. His eyes went bad after the earthquake. Now he cannot see to do what he once did,” Jonas said.
He added that the artists could not afford to work with oil paint so many chose to do abstract compositions, landscape, portraits and still life paintings using acrylic paints. “Getting the materials is difficult but we have a friend in Canada who helps us. Since the earthquake people lost many of their possessions,” Jonas aid. He explained that the poverty and depression in Haiti was fuelling an explosion of creativity.
“People feel at peace when they paint. They get into art because their mother and father are artists. Many people have this talent. Haiti has a lot of creative people,” Jonas said. He said there were misconceptions about the beauty of Haiti but some of the artists including Rufino Fabio, and Petitzil Michelet had captured the landscape beauty of areas such as Delmas, Kenskoff and downtown Port-au-Prince. Jonas said he would be in T&T until Tuesday. Anyone wanting to make purchases can contact Jonas at 704-2471.
HAITI BEFORE THE EARTHQUAKE
• Haiti was 145th of 169 countries in the UN Human Development Index, which is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.
• More than 70 per cent of people in Haiti were living on less than $US2 per day.
• 86 per cent of people in Port-au-Prince were living in slum conditions—mostly tightly-packed, poorly-built, concrete buildings.
• 80 per cent of education in Haiti was provided in often poor-quality private schools, the state system generally provided better education but provided far too few places.
• Half of people in Port-au-Prince had no access to latrines and only one-third has access to tap water.
IMPACT OF THE 12 JANUARY EARTHQUAKE
I• 7.0 Magnitude quake struck near Port au Prince
• 3,500,000 people were affected by the quake
• 220,000 people estimated to have died
• 300,000+ people were injured
• Over 188,383 houses were badly damaged and 105,000 were destroyed by the earthquake (293,383 in total), 1.5 million people became homeless
• After the quake there were 19 million cubic metres of rubble and debris in Port au Prince—enough to fill a line of shipping containers stretching end to end from London to Beirut.
• 4,000 schools were damaged or destroyed
• 25 per cent of civil servants in Port au Prince died
• 60 per cent of Government and administrative buildings, 80 per cent of schools in Port-au-Prince and 60 per cent of schools in the South and West Departments were destroyed or damaged
• Over 600,000 people left their home area in Port-au-Prince and mostly stayed with host families
• At its peak, one and a half million people were living in camps including over 100,000 at critical risk from storms and flooding
• Unrelated to the earthquake but causing aid response challenges was the outbreak of cholera in October 2010. By July 2011 5,899 had died as a result of the outbreak, and 216,000 were infected.
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