Tired of seeing all similar art works, themes and names? If you are looking for a different flavor in the arts, why not stop by London’s Riflemaker for a very interesting show straight from Haiti!
There has been much focus on Haitian art recently, with Nottingham Contemporary staging the first comprehensive survey of Haitian art in the UK, and with Haitian vodou flags included in the group show curated by the celebrated American artist Cindy Sherman as part of the Venice Biennale this year. In the previous edition of the Venice Biennale, the Republic of Haiti made their first presentation with works from three artists who are part of Atis-Rezistans, the artistic collective from the Grand Rue neighborhood.
Haiti is especially known for the art of its urban and rural poor and the show at Riflemaker brings together sculptors from Haiti’s Grand Rue neighborhood of Port-au-Prince: Celeur Jean Herard and Andre Eugene, presented with Haitian Vodou flags by Silva Joseph and Edgard Jean Louis who are both Vodou priests. These flags are in fact ritual ‘drapos’ originally made for ceremonial use but now part of Haitian contemporary art. Their bright colors make a great contrast with the haunting works of the Grand Rue sculptors, which are made out of ready-made and recycled materials with references to Vadou that evoke a cyberpunk sci-fi vision.
“Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou” at Nottingham Contemporary that just closed in January of this year, was a big show including works from different media -- 200 works of 40 artists from the 1940s to the present day. It was able to display these artists’ vivid creativity, especially powerful in works inspired by Vodou - the religion which has been a central part of people's lives since Haiti became the world's first black republic in 1804. Speaking of the exhibition Alex Farquharson, director of Nottingham Contemporary says:
“Haitian art is often shown in a folk art context, which is unfair. If I didn't feel that this work stood up to a lot of work that I think is most interesting in contemporary art then I really wouldn't be showing it here.”
There is still time to go and see the show at Riflemaker, which closes end of the month, and make your own mind if you think Haitian art is as interesting!