Haitian Art re-defined at Paris's Grand Palais Gallery Exhibition

An exhibition of Haitian art produced over the last 200-plus years is currently on display at Grand Palais. Entitled "Haiti: Two Centuries of Artistic Creation" the show features 160-plus pieces of work, created by Haitian artists either living in Haiti or abroad. Four themes make up the exhibition, and are shown in a single, large space. This arrangement curators Regine Cuzin and Ateliers Jerome say forces art lovers to view Haitian art history as more than just the conventional naïve and primitive styles that have categorized Haitian art in the U.S. and Europe.


Unknown to U.S. and European art collectors, Haitian artists began in the 1950s to move away neocolonial art and create abstract pieces of work. But a bias against the exciting new work was dismissed by critics ". . . as not properly Haitian . . ." and not promoted.

The avant garde artists are now getting their due in a section called "Landscapes". Painters and sculptors are transcending the old notions of Haitian art, pushing the envelope beyond modernism itself. Pablo Picasso has been cited as influence in at least one painting by Roland Dorcely.

Another section, "Chiefs", explores the place of sociopolitical control during Haiti's development. Its many rulers are rendered in portraiture with treacherous undertones.

The section "Untitled" bookends the exhibition, freeing Haitian art from its traditional constraints, acknowledging artists as daring creators, re-defining what Haitian art has represented for the past 50 years and today.

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