January 12 again, the anniversary of the devastating Haiti earthquake. Rather than post a long, hand-wringing lament, I figured I would be positive and post some photos from my own visit to Haiti last year.
Some of the pictures do show rubble and destruction, but others show a brighter, livelier more hopeful side…through the eyes of a group of school-aged artists.
Port-au-Prince cathedral, destroyed in the earthquake, 12 January 2010
The tap-tap, a handpainted, repurposed school bus, is the standard form of transport in Port-au-Prince.
Goats wander between mausoleums in Port-au-Prince’s largest cemetery.
A partially re-tiled mosaic on the side of a gallery in the seaside town of Jacmel.
Entrance to the Atis Rezistans art collective in downtown Port-au-Prince.
Sculptures inside the Atis Rezistans art collective. The “heads” on the small spirit sculptures come from actual skulls found in the Port-au-Prince cemetery. The artists tend to think of this as recycling rather than desecration.
André Eugène, pictured in his gallery-workshop, is one of the cofounders of the museum. He and his colleagues train dozens of young artists. He dreams of establishing a boarding school on the chaotic Port-au-Prince worksite.
On the day I visited, some of the younger artists were hard at work putting a new door on a gallery and storage centre.
Sarah-Jean Valris, 13, shows off a work in progress, a beaded flag (drapeau brodé). The flags are a traditional Haitian art form inspired by the ritual art of vodou. Sarah-Jean’s uncle, Georges Valris, is one of the country’s best-known drapeau brodé artists.