Art quake: Haitian exhibit shows art from ‘apocalyptic’ city

Skull in the box: The new Red Hook exhibit “Portoprens: The Urban Artists of Port-au-Prince,” features several sculptures that incorporate skulls and other creepy motifs.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

The show is Port-au-Prince charming!

A new exhibit in Red Hook showcases the diversity of Haiti’s urban artists. “Potoprens: The Urban Artists of Port-au-Prince,” on display at Pioneer Works until Nov. 11, features more than a dozen artists based in the country’s capital. Most outsiders have only a single vision of Haitian culture, but this show offers several distinct strands of art from Haiti’s most populous city, said the exhibit’s Haitian-American co-curator.

“We want to complicate the narrative and not just show Haitian art doing the same thing. That’s why we isolated groups to show that the diversity of Haiti is more than excellent, and we’re creating something very new that has political, social, and cultural significan­ce,” said Edouard Duval-Carrie. “This shows the complexity of the city.”

Duval-Carrie focused his exhibit on three Port-au-Prince neighborhoods known for their artwork — Bel Air for its Vodou flags and textile artistry, Riviere Froide, known for its sculptors, and Grand Rue, renowned for Haitian crafts and art made from scrap material.

The artwork consists mostly of sculptures, collages, and photography, depicting the city’s history, art, religion, political scene, and cultural shifts. Many of the 17 artists in the show are self-taught, and must overcome difficult conditions to tell their stories, said Duval-Carrie. For instance, artists from the Grand Rue neighborhood, an epicenter of the earthquake, often use material pulled from the ruins around them to construct their work.

“They live in borderline extreme conditions, but the work is strong and make very important statements on the conditions in Port-au-Prince,” he said.

Even if one is not familiar with Haiti or Port-au-Prince, the show offers an eye-opening look into a different culture and art scene, said Duval-Carrie.

“It’s a complex city and we have a presentation that mostly captures a place in deep trouble,” Duval-Carrie. “The artwork shows you all that they are contesting, and I applaud it because it’s different when you’re an artist living in a country where the government is non-functioning, disjointed, and dysfunctional really. It’s almost apocalyptic.”

“Potoprens: The Urban Artists of Port-au-Prince,” at Pioneer Works [159 Pioneer St. between Conover and Van Brunt streets in Red Hook, (718) 596–3001,]. On display Wed–Sun; noon–6 pm, until Nov. 11. Free.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.
Posted 12:00 am, September 24, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Florida says:
Haiti.. where human skulls are born into the world without a care. A mysogonistic country.
Sept. 24, 2018, 7:35 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: