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Our past shows at Rue St Anne Gallery

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Atansyon, plastik la pa chiré is an exhibition featuring the artists of FOSAJ and the young people of KROMA. It was conceived by the directors of these two foundations, Maxence Denis and Patrick Boucard, with the idea to create a collaboration and also to encourage the competitive spirit between these creators who have various visions. 
The idea of the exhibition is to use recuperated objects as well as utilitarian objects of every day. The difference between this exhibition and other exhibitions of sculptures made from recuperated objects is between both groups. The artists of FOSAJ are self-taught painters who receive an additional training. The young people of KROMA have been producing art for more than a year under the supervision and guidence of Maxence Denis. Thus, we can observe two different visions, two ways of seeing things in life and also two agendas.

What stands out and what is very interesting is the mystery presented to us. Which are the works of the young people of KROMA and which are the works of the artists of FOSAJ?

The artist in residence at FOSAJ, Chris Lawson, describes the exhibition in this way:

" The works of mixed media which are presented in the FOSAJ gallery, are often illogical, but not without an inherent consciousness which is socio politic and inter personal. A constituent which is even more valid because half of the works were created by children. Who is the pupil, who is the professor? The exhibition asks for a deeper meaning "

For the artist Maxence Denis, this exhibition is different because:

"At first there are very young artists participating. These young people think of objects and attribute their meanings differently from the other artists. There are pieces where the contents are the result of reflection and analysis and others where the assemblies are very spontaneous."

For Patrick Boucard, 

" What is really interesting to see, it is the process of creation, the process of collaboration that transcends ages, which transcends the training and the knowledge. It was an extraordinary atmosphere where all are artists involved in these dynamics.”

 

 

FOSAJ opened it’s Carnival Show on Saturday 10th February with an exhibition of masks, paintings, music and costume parades.
The show was designed by Patrick Boucard, who brings together the artists of FOSAJ and the artisans of FODASE in a vibrant and playful set. Carnival scenes are depicted all along the gallery walls in a superbly united relationship between 3D carnival masks and 2D mural painting.
For the past 2 years our Carnival tradition has been to transform part of the space into a restaurant where over 50 guests are treated to dinner and live entertainment in the form of costumed groups and music.
This year, the groups included the traditional, Chaloska, the portrayal of bygone generals and their cruelty. These characters are dressed in military uniforms and wear an enormous set of bloody false teeth. Mathurins, originally bats with spread wings currently depicting the fight between good and evil. Also featured were the more contemporary, costumed birds, fruits and sea creatures. The parade began in the garden and ended up in the gallery space were an awed audience watched in delight.
The evening was a great success and certainly got everyone in the "Carnival mood".
The exhibition will continue till the end of February.

 

Skilti Gonflé pou Gede 1 Nov - 20 Nov 2006

Skilti Gonflé pou Gede is an exhibition of inflatable Sculptures created by Flo McGarrell and the artists of FOSAJ.
The exhibition is the product of a 3 week workshop in Open Source Inflatables. The workshop was arranged and executed by FOSAJ’s artist in residence, Flo McGarrell who came to Haiti for a month. The theme of the exhibition tied in with the Gede celebrations and opened on November 1st. With this in mind the gallery was transformed into a “pillowy” cemetery of varying dimensions for all souls living and dead to come and rest a while before moving back to harder homes and final resting places of concrete, and brick. At the courtyard entrance to the FOSAJ building a skull with glowing purple eyes beckons visitors from the beach. Then once the visitor reaches the gallery they must deal with an 18 foot long clear vinyl coffin blocking the view to the rest of the gallery, they have a choice to enter the space through the zipper (as many children have been enthusiastically doing) or the less brave may side step the obstacle to see the rest of the show. In a drastic size contrast there are also two teeny tiny coffins, one painted with haunted little faces, and the other with a beautifully drawn veve. Set in front of a purple colored wall there are three yellow creatures that could be caterpillars, or could be maggots – in either case they represent the endless metaphors for the complexity of life cycles and regeneration. The rest of the gallery is filled with tombs with crosses, an unnaturally animated candle whose flame flickers, a resigned beef, some kind of colorful but tired carcass and a fish (Gede’s herring). Gede himself makes an appearance blocking the center door to the gallery while lewdly sporting his inflated erection. Continuing with the linkage between inflatables and the magic of erection - we end with a stunning collaborative effort in Gede’s giant Zozo (penis) with testicles fashioned from discarded umbrellas complete with a Capot (condom) to protect him from Grand Brigittes piment (hot pepper) laced vagina - and only incidentally AIDS.

The show was a great collaborative effort and for some of the artists it was a first time 3D experience.

Flo McGarrell

 

 

Material Matters august 05 - august 15 2006

Material Matters is an exhibition of Mixed Media Sculptures by 16 Haitian Artists, under the guidance of Omar Thompson, Professor of Art at Florida A&M University, with Steve Jones, Professor of Art at Florida State University.  This initiative is supported by USAID with the assistance of Aid to Artisans and FAVACA.

The inauguration is on 05 August 19h00 and the exhibition will end on 15 August 2006 at the FOSAJ Gallery, 5-7 Rue Ste Anne, Jacmel.

FOSAJ, an art center in Jacmel, will present the results of a workshop held at Aid to Artisans in April, a USAID funded project. The workshop, guided by two artists and professors from Florida State University, included 16 Haitian artists working in mixed media assemblages and found objects.  Omar Thomson and Steve Jones were invited by Aid to Artisans through FAVACA to come and hold the workshop in Port au Prince.

Omar said of the workshop, “It’s a process using spontaneity as a foundation of creativity and the reaction to things encountered by chance or not? It’s a conversation between self, materials, time, place and composition. What happens when rubber and wood meet? Stone and fabric? What are the endless possibilities of the materials you find in the search? How can they be composed to create an  that never existed before but did?” These are some of the questions the artists were asked to seek out and answer while participating in the workshop. Did they find the answers? That is for you to decide once you’ve seen the finished products on show in the immaculate exhibiting space at the FOSAJ Gallery. The gallery boasts 2000sq feet of space and is located in a turn of the 19th century coffee warehouse on the seafront of Jacmel.

USAID has been supporting the Aid to Artisans Program since 1998.  The project provides technical assistance to Haitian artisans, as well as FAVACA which partners technical volunteers with local Haitian businesses and organizations.  Aid to Artisans is a non-profit organization specializing in providing design and marketing assistance to artisans worldwide. In partnership with USAID, the current program aims to reinvigorate the Haitian handcraft sector, creating jobs for poor artisans by expanding local and international market opportunities.  USAID through its support to FAVACA identifies experienced volunteers for provision of short-term technical assistance to the private sector, business associations, or governmental agencies requesting specific consultancies in trade and business development.

Together with FOSAJ, the exhibition promises to please all and shows us just how creative and resourceful the Haitian artists are with the resources they have.

 

nan mitan-an, an installation by Ana Teresa Fernandez

22 July 2006 – 3 August 2006

As part of the international program, FOSAJ invites artists from around the world to visit for a period of 4-10 weeks. During their stay they are expected to create their own work and exchange their knowledge and ideas with the local artists and spectators.

For the month of July, Ana Teresa Fernandez has been that visiting artist. Ana is originally from Mexico but now lives in San Francisco were she has just completed her MFA at the San Francisco Institute. She was selected for a scholarship by the San Francisco Arts Commission who recognizes young talent. These artists inevitably end up as the new trends.

Nan Mitan-an, meaning in between in the Creole language, is an installation based on the artist’s experience and perception of Haiti.
Haiti is a bipolar island, it’s strong culture which seems ancient and old fashioned is contradicted with certain aspects of modernity.” Quoted by Ana.
The people of the island remain transparent and move around their space tending to their daily business. Outside, the grand perception of the island is that it is saturated with violence. Staying within context of her work, which deals with visible and invisible borders, Ana has created transparent, mellow scenes of daily life out of plastic bottles collected from the streets. These act as the in between of the light source and the shadow cast.
The elements of our throw away culture, litter the streets like a remnant of a past life. The every day scenes represent two paradoxical worlds. On one hand, the tradition of carving, the activities of the marketplace, the characters she passes each day, the dress, running parallel to the discarded waste prominent due to the lacking infrastructures. Plastic is everywhere. The transparency of the material relates to the invisibility of the real people of Haiti, mostly unknown to the rest of the world.
The installation tries to depict the essence of this Haitian position: In between. A Plato’s cave, capturing the shadows that emanate from the plastic carvings. Projected onto the gallery wall, the shadows become a reflection of the everyday life, almost forgotten and almost always questioning the reality that exists.

The opening of nan mitan-an was a huge success. Spectators loved the originality of the work and the resourcefulness of it too.

 

From Left to Right: KAWATCHOU, CHODYE and BARBELES

 

4th Forum Transculturel d’art Contemporain
June 2006

FOSAJ was honored to participate in the 4th Forum Transculturel d’art Contemporain organized by Barbara Prezeau of Fondation AfriAmericA (click here). The forum ran from the 15th-30th June in venues around Port au Prince and surrounding areas such as Croix de Bouquet and Jacmel. FOSAJ was the only venue to participate in the Jacmel area. FOSAJ presented an installation show of works by Maxence Denis, Patrick NarBal Boucard and Jean Garibaldi. The show titled “KAWOTCHOU, BARBELÉS, CHODYE” opened on 17th June at 11am. Most forum participants came to Jacmel for the day to attend the opening and later a round table discussion was held in the upstairs of FOSAJ. The discussion was led by panelists, Nathalie Gonthier, Laurent Zitte, Patrick Boucard, Barbara Prézeau and Jean Morisset. The subject of discussion was “ephemeral art”. Both the show and the discussion hosted a considerable attendance with the discussion lasting more than 2 hours. All were very satisfied at the end of it and we received many compliments for our efforts.
The works in the show comprised of a video installation by Maxence Denis which was made up of video monitors strategically placed in piles of tires. Intense sounds emanated from each monitor and beyond. A montage of superb imagery depicting many facets of Haitian culture from the typical and familiar to the unusual, projected from the screens. To add to the medley of sensations was the smell and smoke of a burning tire repair instrument beside the installation. People stood mesmerized by the piece, which attracted spectators on a daily basis.
Patrick Narbal Boucard’s installation was the perfect complement to Maxence’s KAWOTCHOU. It was a very still work, quietly shining with eeriness. Patrick had constructed a cage within a cage out of barbwire. In the centre of the enclosed cube was a barb-wired ladder from floor to ceiling with a limp latex body scrambling to the top. The cage resonated a hopeless entrapment but the hope was not all lost as the desperate figure attempts an escape anyway.
The third and final piece was by FOSAJ artist Jean Garibaldi who hung a set of aluminum pots uniformly on a black piece of fabric. An abundance of empty pots closed the final statement of what seemed to be a 3-way conversation drawn from objects seen every day in Haiti.
FOSAJ compliments Barbara Prezeau (click here) on her great effort which is aiding to bring global recognition to the contemporary art produced in Haiti.

 

Easter May Day Show, FOSAJ GALLERY
April-May 2006

To celebrate Fête Jacmel, FOSAJ invited artists from Jacmel to come together to share in the celebration of Jacmel and its art. Luckily, FOSAJ has the space to complement such a vast collection of works. All works were original and from local current artists. It’s a rare treat to see such a diverse range of work from one region.
FOSAJ was very pleased with the response it received when starting the proceedings for this show. It was a pleasure to extend ourselves out to as many artists in Jacmel as possible. FOSAJ encourages all artists to join our database so that a network can begin and more exhibitions of this nature can take place. FOSAJ is very responsive to the importance of working together within all facets of the art world.
The show boasted over 100 paintings carefully put together by FOSAJ Director, Patrick Boucard, to form a whole. The 2000sqft gallery space once again underwent another transformation, and a great one at that.
It was unusual to see so much Jacmel talent in one space and a pleasure to house it under one roof for a 6 week period, giving locals and visitors a chance to view it. The show was a tremendous success. This was reflected in the sales. Many of the visitors did not leave empty-handed as there was something for everyone. Some of the remaining works can still be found in the FOSAJ web gallery. Click here to view the Web Gallery.

 

Haiti Unmasked Feb/March 2006

KIDS WITH CAMERAS-Haiti Photography Exhibit at FOSAJ
Kids with Cameras is a non-profit organization that teaches the art of photography to marginalized children in communities around the world.
During early 2005, Kids with Cameras – Haiti project director Gigi Cohen, held a photography workshop for twelve children from the Foyer Maurice Sixto in Carrefour, a school for child domestic workers in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. The outcome from that workshop was presented in an exhibit focusing on the children's photographs.

The exhibit was curated by Gigi Cohen, a New York based photographer. The work examined child identity and reflected upon the myriad roles that children are called upon to play in society.  Twelve children between the ages of ten and 14 look out at their world. Through photography they restructure what they see through the prism of their personal vision.  Daily life, relationships, visual diaries, social realities that shape individual lives and the yearly cultural phenomenon: Carnival in Jacmel.  The exhibiting artists included: Viergetane, Lineda, Jérôme, Jésula Fabiola, Satéla, Ginette, Kéttelène, Ketna, Micheline, Daphnée and Josimène.

Foyer Maurice Sixto gives educational, psychological and emotional support for the children in domesticity in order to help them to become autonomous and responsible adults.

 

MELANIN February 2006

This exhibition was the result of a month long residency, Asser ST. Val did at FOSAJ during the month of February 2006.
Asser ST. Val is a Haitian artist who left his country in 1988 and settled in the United States. He started looking at melanin in response to the racism he encountered while in the States. His research has brought him to look at differences in skin color where he saw that the information was not readily available.Melanin is the chemical that determines skin color, that protects against the ultra violet rays of the sun, and has the ability to absorb many energy sources and to convert them into re-usable energy. The darker the person, the higher concentration of melanin in the body. It has been used to try to prove that white people were more intelligent than blacks and that the latter’s aptitudes were relegated to the arts and sports.

Melanin is an important ingredient to human survival. Although some people may consider the ‘darkness’ of the skin a curse, this darkness of the skin is actually a blessing from God, our creator. The truth about melanin has been a closely kept secret, for melanin is blackness itself.  It is the single chemical responsible for coloring the skin in the human body.  Melanin is the skin’s primary protection from the natural rays of the sun. It assists the body in various areas such as: health, emotion, language, athleticism, style, and heat”.

The FOSAJ artists joined Asser and produced works on the subject of melanin. They had to do it using a different support than canvas, an organic and natural support. They appreciated the subject very much because it is not a subject that they have been exposed to. It relates directly to their reality, their origin and their identity.

 

ART BAZAR December 2005

This exhibition was conceived with a dual meaning:
  • The questioning of the way a show is curated and the difference between an art gallery and an art shop. In a gallery, there is a theme, the paintings are hung so that they can breathe and the viewer has a somewhat unrestricted view of the work. Some Haitian art galleries behave like an art boutique rather than a gallery. They hang everything that they can, from floor to ceiling. The point is to bring attention to these methods and stimulate questioning and debate.
  • The other idea was to exhibit as many paintings as possible in our 2000 square foot gallery. Some places, the artworks were hung from floor to ceiling. It was felt important to look at the scope of the work of the artists at FOSAJ. This enabled the public to see the artist’s journey through his work. It also enables the viewer to see a bit of the vision of the directors and what the school of painting is accomplishing.

The results were quite interesting. While the idea was to question curating practices in Haiti, this exhibition enabled us to see that our second purpose was achieved so well, that such an exhibition, when it is intended to be that way, makes a lot of sense.

ENTROPY November 2005
en·tro·py: noun
Often interpreted as the degree of randomness in the system.
Figurative lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder

This exhibition was conceived by the directors of FOSAJ, South African artist Kate Tarratt Cross and Jacmelian artist Patrick NarBal Boucard.

From these definitions of entropy, from the second law of thermodynamics in Physics, our gaze is on the closed system, which means a system that draws all of its energy from itself, and has no other source of energy outside of itself. In such a system, as is our galaxy, there will be a gradual decline towards disorder, towards chaos, arriving at the point of no return. 
In conceiving this exhibition, the directors of FOSAJ use it as a metaphor and see Haiti as a closed system. For many rather obscure reasons, Haiti is isolated from the rest of the world and our art, our social, political and political reality, are moving towards entropy.
The art produced does not represent the changes that have influenced Haiti in the last 25 years. This means that art production is more geared towards commercialization rather than its artistic and cultural value. The political arena, in spite of positive efforts, has become a measure of the current degradation of our country.

The exhibition, which is comprised of a square of grey sand surrounded by black sand, is a participative exhibition, where the public participates in the mixing of these sands. Once mixed, it is impossible to revert them to their original states.

The creators of this exhibition think that Haitians should analyze the current situation at all levels and must be conscious of the danger if we reach the point of no return. Therefore, this exhibition is a warning of the danger we are nearing towards entropy.


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