The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

In Extremis: Death and Life in 21st‐Century Haitian Art Exhibition at the Fowler Museum

Dates: September 16, 2012–January 20, 2013
Opening Party: Saturday, September 15, 2012, 6 PM

Location: Fowler Museum, UC Los Angeles

In Extremis: Death and Life in 21st‐Century Haitian Art explores how leading Haitian visual artists have responded to a tumultuous 21st century, an era punctuated by political upheaval, a cataclysmic earthquake, devastating hurricanes, epidemics, and continuing instability. Consisting of approximately seventy mixed-media works by established artists and a rising generation of self-taught genre-busters, the exhibition offers unflinchingly honest and viscerally compelling reactions to Haiti’s contemporary predicament.

In depicting stark realities of the Haitian (and human) condition, all of these pieces invoke the overarching presence of Bawon Samdi, the Vodou divinity who presides over key aspects of mortality, sexuality, and rebirth, and his trickster children the Gede, who are the Vodou divinities most beloved by the Haitian people. Sculptures by Grand Rue artists André Eugène, Jean Hérard Celeur, and Frantz Jacques Guyodo―crafted from used automobile parts, old computer components, and other industrial cast-offs as well as incorporating human skulls and clothing―clearly bear his imprint. So too, do heavily beaded and sequined textiles by Roudy Azor and Myrlande Constant that depict the 2010 earthquake and its aftermath. Likewise, paintings by Mario Benjamin, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Didier Civil, Frantz Zéphirin, and Edouard Duval-Carrié and site-specific installations by Maksaens Denis and Jean Robert Celestin all proclaim Bawon Samdi and the Gedes to be paramount spirits for a nation, and perhaps a world, in extremis.

For more information about the exhibition: http://fowler.ucla.edu/exhibitions/extremis-death-and-life-21st‐century-haitian-art

For more information about the opening party: http://fowler.ucla.edu/events/opening-party-extremis-death-and-life-21st-century-haitian-art

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