By Rhiannon Leigh
Newton, MA – “Migrating Colors 2015,” an exhibition featuring the work of 10 Haitian artists, is currently on view at Lasell College’s Wedeman Gallery. These artists, both from Massachusetts and Jacmel, Haiti, depict their experiences of the 2010 earthquake and the subsequent emotional journey from loss to acceptance to growth.
Common themes within the work include the marketplace, the jungle, magic realism, voodoo rituals and, most importantly, a sense of community. The artists, who had lost their workspace, materials and many of their works during the earthquake, also lost the drive and passion to create art. However, with the help of the Haitian Arts Assembly, the artists were able to obtain new materials and through the creation of new works, were able to transform from victim to survivor.
The exhibition features paintings by Norestant Lamour, Vady Confident, Jean Claude Sainte and Fritz Ducheine and sculpture by James Tandi, Butawu and Betias Chakawa, among other artists.
The works displayed not only give a sense of a loss that was felt after the earthquake, particularly Didier Civil’s “Land for Sale” painting that shows the rubble that was left as well as a sense of community. The works that most caught my attention included “Mother and Child,” a verdite stone sculpture by James Tandi that portrays the infinite bond between a mother and a child despite loss and destruction, and “Market Scene,” a painting by Norestant Lamour that depicts a Haitian market scene with vibrant colors, portraying the beauty of Haiti and the overwhelming sense of community, both before and after the earthquake.
The Haitian Arts Assembly has helped the artists that survived of the earthquake tremendously not only by providing them with new materials but by giving them a way to show their work — exemplified by this exhibition — but also providing a sense of empowerment and hope for the future.
(“Migrating Colors 2015” remains on view through Saturday, April 18, 2015, at the Wedeman Art Gallery at Lasell College, 47 Myrtle Ave., Newton, Mass. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1-4 p.m.)