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Unique Haitian art sale at Normandie

Published: 
Monday, July 28, 2014
One of the pieces of art available at the Normandie for sale.

DAVID CUFFY

Haiti is world famous for its distinctive art, which continues to receive critical acclaim while at the same time enjoys a measure of commercial success among the individual collectors, galleries, and museums.

In association with the Medianet Haiti Relief Fund, The Normandie Hotel in St Ann’s has mounted An Encounter With Haiti, an exhibition and sale of authentic paintings from the collective consciousness of the Haitian people, rooted in their African-based religious beliefs.

Despite the misery and poverty that have plagued the country, Haitians artist seem to always find a way to include the joyfulness of the people in their artistic expression. A main aspect of Haitian art is historicism. Sceneries from the long rebellion against colonisation and slavery and culminating with independence in 1804, which was achieved with great resiliency and incredible suffering, are portrayed. 

The landscape of the country and the everyday life of its people are also components of the Haitian paintings. While the country’s hardships are expected to continue into the next millennium, its art is a reflection of the beauty of the country. Within that reflection emerged the identity of the people, and the expression of pride in a deep and lasting tradition. This pride is exhibited in its African roots, its old religion, its oral history, mythology, relationship with France, and its freedom in the new world. 

The subject matter in the paintings is a reflection of all the cultural influences at work, and reflective of the long lasting heritage of the people. This influence on the paintings and the culture derived from: an African belief systems of life and styles which is more common among the peasantry; the European influence, that is the French language, the architecture and interior decorating, and as a way of life for some; the influence of the Indians, which has survived in "utilitarian" objects and in goods such as cassava.

Haitians artists are the Ambassadors of the culture of Haiti to the world. Those who buy a unique piece of art from exhibition will be helping to spread word of the talent of the people of Haiti as well contributing to their well being, as a percentage of all sales will be donated to Medianet’s Haiti Relief Fund.