Resilience is Theme of Haitian Art Exhibit April 25 – May 24. 2014
Media Advisory/Press Release
Exhibit is Part of Month-Long Celebration of Haitian Resilience
As Haitians continue to rebuild their lives and country, their resilience as a people and an art community is becoming more and more evident in Haitian art, according to Joseph Chery, a co-curator of "The Colors of Resilience," an exhibit of work from artists of Jacmel, Haiti and their American Haitian counterparts in New England. The exhibit, which is currently at Logan Airport, will arrive at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology in Newton on April 25 and wrap up on May 24.
What: Opening Reception for "The Colors of Resilience"
When: 5:30 –8 pm, Thursday, April 25, 2013
Where: William James College, One Wells Avenue, Newton, Massachusetts
Who: Haitian artists from New England will join the audience and leaders of the Haitian mental health community and William James College faculty, staff and students for refreshments and welcoming remarks to celebrate the opening of the exhibit.
Why: To raise funds for the Jacmel artists, so they can continue their own work and inspire and teach young artists in Haiti. All art pieces will be on sale. (75 percent will go to the artists, while 25 percent will go to the organization)
The exhibit is part of a month-long celebration and study of the concept of resilience sponsored by William James College and the Haitian Art Assembly of Massachusetts (HAAM) that will also include a clinical conference for mental health professionals, called "Weathering the Storm like Bamboo: Rethinking the Concept of "Resilience in the Haitian Community, Friday and Saturday, May 3-4, 2013.
A guided tour is also scheduled for Saturday May 4th at 4pm in the same location.
"This year, the paintings are more about the rebuilding effort and daily life than about the tragedy, which was much more prominent in previous years since the earthquake," says Chery, one of the founders of Haitian Artists Assembly of Massachusetts (HAAM) and one of the founders of the Jacmel Art Revitalization Project formed by HAAM in the aftermath of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake to "revive" the work of the artists in the city of Jacmel, whose lives and work were devastated by the disaster.
"There is even evidence of humor in many of the works, which didn't exist before," says Chery, giving as an example the painting called "A Sweeping Statement," which depicts the rubble of the earthquake forming into one person sweeping up the mess of the earthquake as a whole entity. (See photo of that painting attached with this press release).
Chery attributes the emotional transformation in the art not only to the natural resilience and strength of the Haitian people but also to the artists' new lease on their lives and their work since the HAAM project began. "These artists now have the supplies they need and have an audience and market for their work," he says.
Massachusetts, which has the third largest Haitian population in the US (75,000), is considered an ideal home for the project and the artwork, according to Charlot Lucien, a founder of the HAAM and co-director of the project. Says Lucien "There is a vibrant art community in New England that has been very receptive to the concept of expanding its cultural horizons and engaging in a sharing process with the Haitian community, especially in the aftermath of the earthquake. Thanks to this spirit, artists from Jacmel have traveled in Boston recently, and Haitian artists and art collectors from Massachusetts have traveled to meet the artists in Jacmel or have been acquiring Haitian art since then."
Jacmel has long been one of the major cultural and artistic centers of Haiti and has relied on tourism for support. Haitian art has a diversity of style, ranging from more primitive to abstract, and a very characteristic Haitian vibrancy and color.
The revitalization project is now a collaboration between HAAM, the Greater Brockton Society for Poetry and the Arts (GBSPA) and the Jacmel Artists Network and has been shown at Boston City Hall, Lesley University, Brockton City Hall, Cambridge City Hall, Cambridge Health Alliance, Massasoit Community College and Logan International Airport.
For a preview of some of the paintings that will be on display at William James College, go to www.haamarts.org.
About William James College—Founded in 1974 as an independent graduate school of psychology, William James College provides unique training programs for mental health professionals at the doctoral, master's and certificate level, each designed to immerse students in both academic study and real-life clinical experience. Constantly assessing and evolving to meet the needs of of a rapidly changing and increasingly diverse society, William James College currently offers programs to train highly skilled professionals to care for Latinos, veterans, children and adolescents and families in a variety of settings, including the schools, the courts, the community and the workplace, among others.