Revista electrónica del Grupo de Arte de la Asociación del Personal de la OEA - Diciembre 2003

CONTENIDO
Editorial

Pinceladas

Historia del Arte Haitiano
Libros de arte de la Biblioteca Colón de la OEA
Apuntes de Arte
Fotografía
Calendario
Humor y el Arte
Anuncios

Los conceptos vertidos en Pinceladas son de responsabilidad de sus autores y no representa la opinión de la Organización de los Estados Americanos o su Secretaría General.

Unless otherwise indicated, the materials published in Pinceladas, including opinions expressed therein, are the responsibility of the individual authors/compilers and not those of the Organization of American States ("OAS"), GS/OAS, and the OAS Member States or its member countries.

NOTA: La revista electrónica Pinceladas se publica en el idioma original de los artículos que son sometidos. La revista publicará información de artistas que exhiban sus trabajos en galerías comerciales del área metropolitana de Washington y en las galerías de arte de las Misiones de los países Miembros ante la OEA. Esta información pueden enviarla a la siguiente dirección electrónica: jbustillos@oas.org

Pinceladas se reserva el derecho de edición y publicación

 
 
 EDITORIAL

Mensaje  Navideño

            Este año al igual que el año pasado me ha tocado el privilegio de enviarles el mensaje navideño.

            Al ser extranjeros residentes en este país asimilamos la cultura y con ello adoptamos también sus fiestas y celebraciones.  Una de mis fiestas adoptivas favoritas es “Thanksgiving” y a pesar de no identificarme con los colonos que vinieron en el “Mayflower”, me parece fantástico ver como tantas personas se trasladan, a veces, de un extremo a otro del país para reunirse con sus familias con el sólo propósito de cenar juntos y agradecer todo lo recibido durante el año.  Al principio me sentía extraña con esta celebración pero cuando somos padres no podemos dejar de participar en las festividades que son importantes para nuestros hijos, entonces no sólo adoptamos esta fiesta sino que hacemos todo lo posible por cumplir con todos los requerimientos que ella exige.  

            Pero no bien terminamos de celebrar “Thanksgiving” cuando nos damos cuenta de que la Navidad está a la vuelta de la esquina.  Basta con salir a los centros comerciales para encontrar todo decorado con adornos navideños y las largas filas de padres con sus hijos para sacarse la tradicional fotografía con Papá Noel.  En todos los lugares públicos y emisoras podemos escuchar los villancicos navideños que tantos bellos recuerdos nos traen.  Y nos contagiamos con el espíritu navideño transportándonos a los preparativos de Navidad.  A poner las decoraciones, a adornar el arbolito de pascua, a preparar la lista de los regalos y a pensar, por supuesto, en el menú para Navidad.  Porque eso sí, adoptamos las fiestas norteamericanas pero ello no quiere decir que dejamos de celebrar las nuestras.  Entonces tenemos dos fiestas juntas:  la cena de nochebuena y el desayuno de pascuas y no faltará más de alguno que más tarde también festeje el Día de Reyes, el 6 de enero.  Porque así somos no perdemos oportunidad para celebrar.  Que lindo es celebrar.  Aunque después nos quejemos por las libras obtenidas y por el dinero gastado, que lindo es celebrar.

            Queridos amigos lectores reciban el más afectuoso saludo del Grupo de Arte y nuestros mejores deseos de una muy Feliz Navidad y próspero Año Nuevo. Ojalá que este espíritu navideño y esta alegría perduren en nuestros corazones durante todo el año.  Gracias por el apoyo brindado.

Glady Berly

 HISTORIA DEL ARTE HAITIANO

PREÁMBULO

Haití cuenta con tantos y connotados artistas plásticos, que honrarlos individualmente no estaríamos haciendo justicia al talento de la isla mágica, por lo que Pinceladas a manera de regalo de navidad les ofrece esta historia del arte haitiano en espera de contribuir a su mayor enriquecimiento.

A History of Haitian Art

Without a doubt, Haitian Art, especially painting and sculpture, is among the most appreciated in the world. It continues to receive critical acclaim while at the same time enjoying some measure of commercial success. Yet, that success comes with a history of controversy, as Haitian artists, local and western critics have dueled over what form of artistic expression is more authentic and therefore worthy of consideration as characteristic haitian art.

The Beginnings

While most books on Haitian Arts conveniently begin their history of Haitian Art with the Centre D'Art in 1944, there is however clear evidence of artistic activity dating back to the Pre-Columbian era. The Tainos would make dolls, drawings, signs (maybe the ancestors of the vèvè in vaudou) that represented their deities.Archeologists also found sculptures and pots of many kinds that were wonderfully crafted. All this indicates a vibrant artistic life existing as part of everyday life among the Taino. 

There exists a record of a former slave called Luc, from Leogane, who, during french colonial times earned a reputation as a painter. In the days after Independence, both Henri Christophe and Alexandre Pétion were patrons of the arts.They regularly entertained European artists, and also founded some art schools at the time. In Christophe's court, foreign and local artists alike found ample commission work. The main themes were to the glory of the Revolution or the Royal family itself. One of those artists was Numa Desroches (1802-1880) who produced one of the most intriguing paintings of that period. It is a view of Palais Sans Souci with a spatial distribution that reminds one of the naïve paintings of the 20th Century. In the 1840s, the Emperor Soulouque founded an Imperial Academy of the Arts. 

Further evidence of artistic activity comes from a photograph dated from c. 1900 that shows a shack adorned with religious paintings. Again the style of the paintings is close to the Primitive Art ("Art naïf") that would become popular from the 1940s. Both paintings show that style of painting is a long tradition in Haiti instead of being the result of the work of any Art School. 

In the early 20th Century a giant emerges from the northern town of Cap-Haitien. He was Philomé Obin (b 1892-?) arguably among the top 5 Haitain painters ever. Obin was a self-taught painter whose main themes were scenes of every day life in Cap-Haitien and historic scenes of the Haitian Revolution. In many ways, his work is representative of the spirit of the 20s and 30s when the global negritude movement would see a local manifestation in Haiti with the Indigenist movement.

Indigenism and Modernism

Indigenism meant returning to the African roots and finding new aesthetic values and a natural cultural identity. One of the first painters to respond to the call of the indigenist movement was Petion Savain. His style was realist and simple. Of the artists who were to follow his style, we could note Georges Ramponneau. Cuban and Caribbean influence were to give rise to the Modernist movement. Modernism was most mostly embraced by the elite. Modernist painters of note included Luce Turnier (1924-1994), Lucien Price (1915-1963) etc. They tried to adapt modern artistic theories to the local environment in the manner of a Wilfredo Lam, the Cuban master. Clearly there is a strong record of artistic activity predating 1940. Haitian artists did not learn how to paint out of the blue, or through the intervention of some foreigners, like some books would, but rather displayed an influence by traditions that go way back and a have a good body of work to show for it.

The Naive Art movement and the Centre d'Art

In the 1940s, Dewitt Peters, an American school teacher arrived in Haiti. Almost immediately he was striken by the raw artistic talent displayed by many untrained and in many cases uneducated painters he would encounter. Those were people who never went to Art School, workers of all trades, who would come home and produce marvels of ingenous art work. In 1944, He founded the Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince . The Centre d'Art became the champion of the art form that would be known as "Naïve Art", "peinture naïve" or better called "intuitive art" (1). Intuitive painting is characterized by vivid, raw colors, a spatial composition and use of proportions that did not abide by any of the laws of modern aesthetics, but rather revealed spontaneity, freedom of expression and freshness. That art form would attain notoriety on the world scale, especially with the arrival of co-director Selden Rodman. Selden Rodman rejected modernism, the leading art movement of the time, as being too post-war, too vanguard and therefore too socially inclined. Contrarily to what many manuals wrote, though, neither the Centre D'Art nor Dewitt Peters invented Naïve Art. Nevertheless, they are credited for their efforts in having brought it to the attention of the Western World. The primitives of the first generation received worldwide acclaim. Critics and collectors received that movement as "authentic" and "unspoiled". The main heroes of that movement were otherwise common, non artistically trained folk who had great talent. They were André Pierre, Hector Hippolyte (1894-1948), Castera Bazile (1923-66), Wilson Bigaud (b. 1931) and Rigaud Benoit (b. 1911). Vaudou was prominently featured in the works of those artists. Andre Pierre and Hippolyte themselves were vaudou priests. The cornerstone piece of the Primitive Art School has to be the mural project of the Cathedral of Sainte Trinité (Holy Trinity). For that mural, Obin, Benoit, Bazile and Bigaud placed traditional religious motifs like the Ascension of Christ in a very Haitian context. Characters were painted with black faces, while drums and sacrificial animals were featured in a few of the paintings. The Primitive Movement was accompanied by great controversy. Many other Haitian artists, the intelligentsia and the elite alike resented the seal of authenticity attached to Naïve Art. Why would only unschooled artists be recognized as authentic Haitian artists? Even if for the wrong reasons, the generally reactionary haitian elite of the time had a point. In earnest what gives Western critics the right to decide what represents true Haitian Art? What gives the Centre d'Art the mandate to act as arbitrator, championning one movement versus others? Haitian painters to this day have to deal with the preconceived notion that Haitian Art is supposed to ressemble work from that era for it to be authentic. Collectors attach high value to the works of the masters from that era while eschewing the work of even accomplished artists displaying more contemporaneous trends as being unrepresentative of Haitian Art as critics or they conceive of it. Well, for better or for worse, Intuitive Art and its champion, the Centre D'Art, became a driving force behind the Haitian Art industry as a whole by bringing worldwide attention towards the small nation. For one, the Centre D'Art gave a chance to painters who otherwise would never be noticed by the conservative art establishment of the time. It allowed vaudou artists like Hector Hippolyte and Andre Pierre to express themselves, and made religious art more acceptable. It provided support and a market for generations of painters and made international celebrities out of many. Intuitive Art became very prized by tourists who kept alive a whole industry, even when the quality of the art work over the years, especially what is found on the streets, became quite questionable. Intuitive Art from the 50s and on became a cash crop that even the elite in turn cultivated by buying the best of the genre for display in posh galleries. Therein lies the great irony. With Haitian Art, success is often a double-edge sword. Whenever an art form gets some kind of critical recognition, foreign demand and foreign backing would automatically increase. In turn, artists who many times worked for galleries would get specific demands and feedback:"Do more market scenes", or "landscapes are very hot now". That sort of feedback ultimately becomes detrimental because it hinders the natural disposition of the artist and forces him/her to slant energies towards popular themes and styles. They would be compelled to mass-produce art work in line with what is popular, instead of what they were inspired to do. Before long, many copycats and wannabes would emerge and ultimately, the whole movement would turn into commercialism, with decreasing freshness, originality and hence quality of production. 

Aftermath of the Naive Movement

There were many offshoots to the Naïve movement. Philomé Obin would create the School of Cap-Haitien that included artists such as Sénèque Obin (1893-1977), his younger brother. Second generation intuitive painters include Gerard Valcin (1925-88), Wilmino Domond, Seymour Bottex, Gabriel Alix, Gesner Armand and Prefete Duffaut (b. 1923). The second generation is characterized by a certain departure from the style of the orignal masters of the 40s. Many of those artists like Armand would through their travels learn other techniques and would use them to enrich and solidify their original style. This work by Bottex at the left uses vivid colors reminding one of the originals but his use of the curve, the flatness of his colors, the simplicity of the themes is indicative of not just his style, but is also characteristic of the evolution of the pimitive movement. Another example is Prefete Duffaut is especially famous for his mountainous landscapes where Heaven meets Earth and the laws of Gravity are nonexistent. Duffaut would later create the School of Jacmel in the country's south east. Other primitives of the second generation are famous for their depictions of jungles with lions and tigers in a local context, or oversized fruits. The Poto Mitan (pole in the center of a hounfor, a vaudou temple) School of 1968 shows renewed interest in Vaudou and Pre-Hispanic themes. It featured Tiga (Jean-Claude Garoute b. 1935) Maud Robart and Patrick Vilaire (b. 1942). Tiga and Robart would be at the origin of what Andre Malraux called the most striking experiment of magical painting he had ever seen. That was the Saint Soleil experiment. In the early 70s. Tiga and robart, already famous painters who rejected the prevalent primitive movement wanted to createa community of artists whose inspiration stemmed from pure unadulterated haitian sources. They bought a property in the mountains where they distributed art materials to a group of peasants who have never painted to see what would come out. The results were spectacular. The major artists produced by that experiment include Louisiane St Fleurant, Prospere Pierre Louis (1947-96), Antilhomme, Levoy Exil (b. 1944) and later on, Stevenson Magloire, son of Louisiane. Andre Malraux, the famous french writer came to visit the workshop and was amazed at the results. He devoted a whole chapter of his last book l'Intemporal to Saint Soleil. Alas, just as before success became detrimental to Saint Soleil. part-time artists became full-time astists and soon, as commercialism again ensued, the school disbanded. There were other counteractions to Naïve Art. One of them, Modernism wanted to adapt more established painting styles to the local settings. In the 50s, many artists like Lucien Price and Dieudonné Cédor broke away from the Centre D'Art and founded the "Foyer Des Arts Plastiques" another academy of painting. However, the movement lacked focus and soon waned. One of the few commercially successful reactions to Intuitive Art was the School of Beauty, with Bernard Sejourne (1947-1994), Jean Rene Jerome (1942-91), Philippe Dodard, and Emilcar Similien. Their style was of a dreamy surrealism, where the individual was featured instead of the group; where personal feelings and thoughts received focus instead of the national consciousness. The School of beauty soon lapsed intorich ornamental luxury and commercialism as soon as success came to its members.

The Others

A few painters are worth mentionning although they do not seem to fit any category. We have Bernard Wah (1939-1982), seated somewhat at the other extreme of the School of Beauty, although a key member, who displayed a quasi-mechanical approach to his characters approaching the macabre or the fantastic. Another is Lyonel Laurenceau, master of the knife painting technique whose portraits of simple folk were popular from the late 70s to today. Herve Thelemaque achieved notoriety in France, while Claude Dambreville excelled with his high contrast, flat color scenes of women at the market.Let us mention a few masters of iron work: Georges Liautaud who started out by making funeral crosses in the town of Croix des Bouquets, Serge Jolimeau, who achieved worldwide notoriety, John Sylvestre, and the Louis Juste brothers all from Croix des Bouquets. Sculptors of note include Albert Mangones who produced the famous "Marron Inconnu" statue in Port-au-Prince. Let us also salute a great artist of haitian descent whose fame in the 80s was as brilliant as it was short lived: Jean Michel Basquiat, a quintessential modern artist whose work was part Andy Warhol, part Brooklyn ghetto. Finally, what of the present? The artistic production of Haitians has never been more alive with many branches existing now, with so many Haitians living in the diaspora. The young artists show great promise, while some of the old masters show extra life. But let us end by mentioning some of the accomplished artists of this generation: Henri Dubreuil, Ernst Louis Jean, Roosevelt François, Ernst Louizor, Valmidor... Just to name a few. 1- Calling the brand of Art these untrained and uninfluenced painters practiced as naive or primitive is generally considered being pejorative; the term intuitive is the more correct and more accepted qualifier for the art form.

Fuente: Discoverhaiti

Recopilado por Gabriel Gross

 

 SIGUIENTE