Curriculum Resource Units


In Extremis: Death and Life in 21st-Century Haitian Art

in extremis \in-ik’strē-mɘs, -‘strā-\ adv [L] (ca. 1530) : in extreme
circumstances;  esp : at the point of death
—Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition

A coup d’état, a devastating earthquake, hurricanes, floods, poverty, and epidemics; the 21st century in Haiti has been a study in tumult. In Extremis: Death and Life in 21st‐Century Haitian Art―an exhibition on display at the Fowler Museum from September 16, 2012–January 20, 2013―demonstrates how leading Haitian visual artists are producing an enthralling, sometimes unsettling body of work that confronts these hardships head on.

Consisting of more than seventy works including paintings, prints, installations, metal sculpture, and mixed-media sculptures by established artists and a new generation of self-taught genre-busters, the exhibition offers unflinchingly honest and viscerally compelling reactions to Haiti’s contemporary predicament.

The most emblematic of these rising artists, André Eugène, Jean Hérard Celeur and Frantz Jacques (aka Guyodo), have emerged onto the international art stage of biennials, galleries and museums from a warren of junkyards, auto salvage shops, and ateliers on Port‐au‐Prince’s Grand Rue. They have moved Haitian sculpture into a new territory by constructing huge figures out of car chassis, human skulls, tire chains, and discarded computer parts.

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