Day Three: This is What Heaven Looks Like

Friday, January 4th, 2013 

This morning we were welcomed into Phillipe’s humble aboad for coffee and tea. Serving coffee and tea in the home is a custom for Haitians to show respect to their guests.  Phillipe’s house is on the top of a mountain that overlooks Port-au -Prince. The view of the mountains and the houses down below is breathtaking. Phillipe’s home looks like it was created by an artist; his stunning work is shown all around his house. He gave us a tour of his work, including a visit to his workshop. One of his pieces that truly stuck out to me is a dark colored painting called “The Fallen Chairs.” This painting features broken chairs that represent a school during the earthquake. Many children died under the rubble when the school collapsed, and Phillipe wanted to showcase this tragic moment. I could sense the desperation in his work. Phillipe also showed us charcoal drawings that he had made. When I asked him how long it takes to paint a picture, he told me that it is like having a baby; it is a long process that is extremely rewarding.

Next stop was to meet more artists and explore their artwork on the mountain. Up the bumpy hill we drove to other artist’s homes to admire and purchase their artwork. One of the main purposes of this trip was to purchase Haitian artwork to help the artistic economy. Over the course of the day, the group purchased a lot of art. The group fell in love with colorful trays at one location; the artist ONEL personally signed each and every one. This was my first piece of artwork that I bought on the trip. I felt so happy knowing that my money was going towards an incredible artist. At one point the group rode in the back of Phillipe’s truck to get to another artist’s house. What an experience! The bumpy road just added to the fun. Many of the artists paint pictures of the sun, and I selected a cloth painting of the sun that will be hung up in a location at MCLA. Walking up and down the hills to visit the artist’s homes and artwork, I couldn’t help but think of how this must surely be what heaven looks like. The peacefulness of the mountains and the hope that is instilled in Haiti carries true.

We also visited the memorial site of Tiga, who was the founder of the Son Sole movement, a style of simplistic and beautifully colored work. Phillipe is actually working on the memorial site, and will be adding a gold dome to the memorial.  For lunch we ate at BelO’s cousin’s restaurant. BelO is a popular Haitian musician who recently performed  a set at MCLA. We will be meeting him tomorrow, where he will be performing for us!

Expressions Art Gallery, the last gallery that we visited for the day, featured a variety of Phillipe’s artwork. His artwork sells for $1,000.00 and more. Everywhere we go, the Haitians are very kind, and Phillipe is no exception. He has taken the time out of his busy days to spend time with us and show us a whole new side to art. Without Phillipe, we would have never been able to make connections with such incredible and inspiring artists that lived in the mountains. 

We also bought sketchbooks to draw pictures of the every day festivities and sights that we see. At dinner last night at Quartier Latin, for example, I drew a picture of the jazz band that was playing and the outdoor tables reflecting the candlelight and sparkling ornaments dangling from the trees. The restaurant’s walls were covered with the names of past visitors who have left their mark.  We each added our name to the wall, a piece of us that will forever be in Haiti.




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Posted by BCRC Admin on 01/05 at 09:17 AM
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