Haitian Artist Shows Everyday Life in Gallery

By Yoly Zephyr via The Famuan

A small, dark man was perched to the left of the entrance. His bright red shirt contrasted with his ebony skin as he swiftly sliced coconuts with a machete into a grocery cart.

The simple, honest portrayal of everyday Haitian life and culture showed no signs of destruction from a 7.0-magnitude earthquake and the resulting cholera outbreak and mass displacement in the SeJoe Collection, launched Thursday, Feb. 24 at the Tallahassee Community College Fine Art Gallery.

The collection is named after Joseph "Se Joe" Ducasse, 23, a Florida State University alumnus. Ducasse said the contemporary Haitian art dates back to 1960.

"The art captures Haiti's beauty and folklore," said Ducasse. "It is looking at Haiti through the artist's eyes. In this exhibition I choose the paintings with most vibrant and vivid colors; the pieces tell a story."

Ducasse was born in Brooklyn, NY, but was raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Ducasse said his mother, Marie-Denise St-Amand, first introduced him to art and had a wide network of artist friends in Haiti. Over 200 of the pieces were donated by Ducasse's mother.

It's a side of Haiti that people rarely get to see.

"I absolutely loved it," said Emmanuela St-Jean, 20, third-year student at Florida State University.

The Se Joe Collection will be open to the public until March 24. The collection will be open Monday through Friday 12:30-4:30 p.m. at the Tallahassee Community College Fine Art Gallery. The gallery will be closed during spring break.

Brogan Museum exhibit showcases Haitian art

By Kenta Joseph via The Famuan

Original Haitian artwork, music, poetry, dance was showcased yesterday at the opening reception titled Night at the Museum: Haiti Benefit Showcase.

The reception featured the personal art collection of Joseph Ducasse on the life, culture, and natural environment of the island and the Haitian people. The oil on canvas paintings varied from scenes of everyday life to abstract depictions infused with representations of historic significance and cultural beliefs.

The reception was inspired by Ducasse, who was interested in developing a relationship with the Mary Brogan Museum of Art & Science while creating awareness for the earthquake victims, said Chucha Barber, CEO of the museum.

"While there was a significant outpouring of support in the early days and weeks following the earthquake I think it's very important that we continue to keep the people of Haiti in our minds and our hearts, because they have a very long road to recovery," Barber said.

Scott Bonnell, founder and CEO of Hope to Haiti, was featured as the guest speaker. Performances included Florida State Universities Poetic Lyricism and song, poetry and dance by Paul Etienne, Karen Jean-Louis, Dariana Vertus, Richard Wilson and Lucien Adderley.

"I hope the community will learn that what they see on television about Haiti is not true," said Angie Jacques, president of the Haitian Culture Club of Tallahassee. "Haitians have a rich culture and an influential history."

Proceeds for Night at the Museum go toward the Hope for Haiti. The reception was sponsored by the Haitian Cultural Club of Tallahassee, the Mary Brogan Museum of Art & Science, Parks & Crumps Attorneys at Law and www.sejoe.com.