Haiti is world famous for its distinctive art which continues to receive critical acclaim from around the world. Haitian art consists of mostly visual arts, such as paintings, sculpture and metal arts. Which is an art form endemic to the country. Haitian art reflect a complex tradition of African, French, Catholic and tribal Voodoo. It is mostly influenced by Voodoo.
A great number of Paintings and sculptures depict some sort of Voodoo scenery, ceremony, and deities. One other key component in most of Haitian art, specially paintings, is the joy depicted. Despite the misery and poverty that plagued the country, Haitians artist seem to always find a way to include the joyfulness of the people in their artistic expression. Another main aspect of Haitian Art is historicism. Important historic moments.
Sceneries from the long rebellion against colonization and slavery and culminating with independence in 1804, which was achieved with great resiliency and incredible suffering are usually portrayed.
The landscape of the country, and the everyday life of its people are also important components of the Haitian paintings. Haitian Art came to existence well before the emergence of Haitian people; way before the introduction of slavery, and definitely before Christopher Columbus and his men discovered the Island of Hispaniola.
The Taino Indians created paintings on the walls of their caves, huts, and even on their bodies. The Native's Art, just like it's people did not survive the brutalization of the Spanish conquerors. The Taino will eventually be engulfed with their culture, accustoms, language and art by the Spaniards inhumane treatments. Thus diminishing the Taino influence on Haitian modern Art. Specially its paintings.
Henry Christophe had a high regard for Culture and a profound passion to make the citizens of the newly born republic one of the most civilized, and creative people on earth. He encouraged the development of Art, by inviting several English artist to teach at the Royal Academy of Art in Milot.
After the death of Christophe, President Alexandre Petion who succeeded him, helped French artist establish an art school in Port-au-Prince. French Artist were invited to promote and train Haitian Artists. 1943 marked the beginning of a true revolution of Haitian arts, with the arrival of an American watercolorist , Dewitt Peters.
He opened the Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince with the purpose of teaching art. Dewitt gave himself the mission to modernize Haitian art and introduce it to the rest of the word. Many talented, but unknown artist such as Hector Hypolite a well known Voodoo priest, who is mostly remembered as the father of the Southern School of Haitian Art, Philome Obin, Rigaud Benoit and Castra Bezile, stepped forward to work with Dewitt.
The Boundless creativity of Haitian has never ceased to amaze art critics and collectors around the world. The vitality of Haitian art is an astonishing reality and the its future is more than ever reassured.
Haitians artists are the Ambassadors of the culture of Haiti to the world. On your next visit, make sure you get a unique piece of art from the many galleries throughout Port-au-Prince or the endless street vendors. You will not only help them spread the word of beauty in talent of the people of Haiti, but you will be more than proud to add one more exceptionable masterpiece to your collection.