Written By Jonel Juste for Artburst Miami
The arts of Haiti are this spring the focal point of a series of lectures and seminars at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA). Offered by the Knight Art + Research Center program at ICA-Miami, these events notably focus on the artistic practices of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora from a scholarly and artistic perspective.
Over the course of three weeks, Haitian arts will be explored from multiple angles, including historical, aesthetic, and socio-political perspectives.
The program called “Spring Semester 2023: The Arts of Haiti” commences with a focus on the artistic path of contemporary artist Édouard Duval-Carrié, then proceeds to examine the significance of fiction in Haiti’s history through a seminar led by Kaiama L. Glover. Finally, the program concludes with a seminar on the philosophy of history in Caribbean art led by Anthony Bogues.
On April 27, Kaiama L. Glover’s lecture titled “Haiti and the Fictions of History” presents a comparative analysis of the various modes of storytelling in Haiti’s history, particularly in response to the recent surge of mainstream interest in this topic on platforms like the New York Times “Haiti: The Ransom Project” and HBO’s “Exterminate All the Brutes,” providing insights into the subject.
Before the lecture, Mrs. Glover will host a three-day seminar (April 24-26) in which attendees will have the opportunity to explore prose fiction works that present intricate viewpoints on Haiti’s intricate history.
Through a collaborative reading of novel excerpts and short stories by notable Haitian writers including Edwidge Danticat, Marie Chauvet, Evelyne Trouillot, René Depestre, and others, participants will gain insights into significant events from Haiti’s remarkable past, as depicted by these authors using memory, intimacy, and imagination.
Professor Glover is not new to Haitian arts and literature, having translated multiple works of both fiction and non-fiction from French to English. Notably, she has translated Frankétienne’s Ready to Burst (2014), Marie Chauvet’s Dance on the Volcano (2016), and René Depestre’s Hadriana in All My Dreams (2017).
“These seminars and lectures should be considered about a larger research inquiry that we at the Knight Art + Research Center—ICA Miami’s pedagogical platform—have been pursuing over the last five years and have called “The Critical Thinking of the African Diaspora,” indicates Gean Moreno, director of the Knight Foundation Art + Research Center.
This spring, Haiti is in the limelight. And the reason, according to Moreno, is because the Caribbean country is “such a fundamental part of Miami’s identity, and yet it is often the case that its complex history and culture are not well understood.”
“From the Haitian Revolution to the US Marine occupation, from the writings of Jacques Roumain to the beaded flags that have migrated from religious practices to contemporary art, there is just so much to study and so much that rises beyond the images that we often get from the media,” explains the Curator of Programs at ICA Miami.
“As one of the most significant diasporic populations in the city of Miami, Haitian culture has become integrally bound to what makes up Miami. We recognized the importance of creating programming that pays tribute to the relationship between Miami’s Haitian community and the city,” adds Donna Honarpisheh, Assistant Curator at Knight Foundation Art + Research Center.
The program, indicate the organizers, provides a platform for participants to contemplate not only the contemporary arts that are emerging from Haiti but also the extensive political and historical contexts that have given rise to these artistic practices.
The series of events started on April 17th with a three-day seminar on Haitian visual arts by the Haitian painter Edouard Duval-Carrié. On April 2oth, he gave a lecture titled “The Artistic Trajectory of Edouard Duval-Carrié,” which focused on his artistic journey.
The program will come to an end on May 4th with a lecture by scholar and curator Anthony Bogues. His lecture will delve into the intricacies of the “philosophy of history” that can be observed through the cultural practices of Caribbean art.
Alongside the seminars and lectures this spring, the Institute of Contemporary Art is developing a season of its podcast, “Tomorrow is the Problem,” dedicated to Haiti. “The season will launch in mid-September. It has episodes dedicated to the Haitian Revolution, to Little Haiti, to Haitian futures, and the paintings of Hervé Télémaque. It will feature a great line-up of speakers from David Scott and Richard Powell to Adler Guerrier and Edwidge Danticat”, announces Gean Moreno.
Photo: Professor Kaiama L. Glover (Courtesy of ICA)