Edmund Barry Gaither

2/1/2011, 7 p.m.

    Haiti’s Artists Rebuild

    Reconstruction, 30x24 oil on canvas
    by Maccene Laurent

    Destroyed Marketplace, 24x30 oil on canvas
    by Maccene Laurent

    Plastic Tent, 24x30 oil on canvas
    by Lionel Guivard Jean

    Edmund Barry Gaither

    Director and Curator
    Museum of the National Center
    of Afro-American Artists

    Marking the first anniversary of the great Haitian earthquake, the Haitian Artists Assembly of Massachusetts, in collaboration with friends of Haiti, has launched a series of exhibitions under the title “When Our Brushes Shook!” The exhibitions feature works for sale produced by the artists of Jacmel, a quake-impacted village south of Port-au-Prince. The proceeds will go to providing materials for Jacmel artists so that they can continue making art to support their families and rebuild their community. Funds will also assist in launching a local art school. Exhibitions are presently on display at Boston City Hall, Cambridge Hospital and the Brockton Public Library. Later in the spring, there will be shows at the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Roxbury and at Lesley College in Cambridge.

    “When Our Brushes Shook!” calls attention to the rich imagination of Haitian art where Surrealist and Magic Realist influences are put to the service of a deeply narrative impulse, thereby creating one of the great national traditions of 20th century art. That narrative interest is here focused on the trauma of the earthquake and the necessity of rebuilding. The works shown capture the extraordinary resilience of the Haitian people, as well as their irrepressible will to live. This elemental force is confirmed in the vitality of an art where the Haitian spirit, confronted by calamity, does not capitulate to despair — though it acknowledges the dusty grayness and dark bloodiness of the tragedy of the earthquake — but rather fills canvases with color and vibrancy evincing a steadfast resolve to move forward and build a future. 

    For more about “When Our Brushes Shook!,” please visit http://gbspa.homestead.com/jacmelartproject.html.