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26628: Miles (announce): Jacmel Artist Retreat, Gede Expo (fwd)
From: Melinda Miles <email@example.com>
First Jacmel Annual International Artist Retreat
February 20 - March 1, 2006
[for info contact: Elise Hansen, firstname.lastname@example.org]
Come celebrate Haiti’s carnival with the Centre de Formation Artistique de
Jacmel (CFAJ), an artist-run cooperative in the home of Haiti’s folk art
tradition and the capitol of its carnival festivities!
The Jacmel International Artist Retreat exists to encourage international
exchanges and to raise support for the CFAJ art center. This year’s
delegation offers educational panels, art sessions, and fun excursions. KONPAY
invites input from participants and implements every possible
delegation request. Interpreters and guides are included with all activities
and accommodations are provided by the Cyvadier Hotel in Jacmel
There is music, Carnival... The surf pounds; the flowers bloom.
Governments change, but Jacmel remains the same.
~ Carole Cleaver, The New Leader
•Intro to Haiti, with the commentary: Experiencing History as an Artist
•The meanings of carnival - artists, community leaders, historians
•Slideshow of prevalent carnival art
•Vodou: The Culture & Spirit of Haitian Art
•Trip to Bassin Bleu waterfall
•Time to work on your own art
•Sessions with the women, men and youth artists of CFAJ
•Face painting at the carnival stand
•Papier-mâche creation for CFAJ
•Tree planting with the MEPE Youth Movement for the Environment
Konbit Pou Ayiti/KONPAY
(Working Together for Haiti)
We are a Haitian-American non-governmental organization based in Haiti. Our
mission is to strengthen existing Haitian organizations, build local
and national networks and create relationships between individuals in the U.S.
KONPAY focuses on Haitian solutions to environmental, social and economic
problems and provides training and funding to grassroots and
community-based projects. KONPAY coordinates educational trips for those
interested in an exchange with the staff of our partner programs. For more
information about KONPAY and our programs, please visit our website at
Contact Elise Hansen for information about KONPAY and the International Artist
Retreat at 978-335-2758, or email@example.com.
Delegation Dates: February 20-March 1, 2006
In-Country Cost including airfare from Port-au-Prince to Jacmel: $850.00
You can lower your total cost by: pricing international airline tickets and
buying them early, staying at our approved Guest House instead of the
hotel, and staying for one week instead of two.
New Jacmel Art Cooperative Holds First Exposition
Gede and Jean Rony Honored
Walking into the courtyard of the Center for Aristic Training of Jacmel/CFAJ on
November 1, 2005 was a lot like walking into a cemetery. A skeleton wearing the
black top hat of Papa Gede, the playful and rowdy spirit of the dead, hung from
a large cross just inside the gate, and spotlights nestled in the trees cast
long shadows from coffins strewn throughout the yard. On the front step of the
gallery a group of drummers sat before a flag and gave the rhythm of banda to
the cool Caribbean night.
Director Didier Civil explained the choice of November 1 for CFAJ’s first
community open house and exhibition: “Here in Haiti, November 1 is the holiday
we value most not only because we are celebrating the spirit Gede, but also
because it is the day when we remember all of our loved ones who have passed
away.” Although many different religions are practiced in Haiti, all Haitians
have a link to vodou, Didier explained. Indeed, vodou is more a cultural
tradition than a religion, and its spirituality pervades virtually all of
According to anthropologist Karen McCarthy Brown ("Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess
in Brooklyn"), “Gede raises life energy and redefines the most painful
situations – even death itself – as one worth a good laugh.” In a country like
Haiti, it is not surprising that the fet, or celebration, for Gede is the most
valued. Within Gede Haitians find a release from many social constraints – he
is bawdy and bad-mouthed, the spirit of sex, humor and small children as well
as death. As McCarthy Brown discovered, Gede’s humor is an antidote to pain.
Central to Gede’s iconography is the cross, because he stands at the crossroads
between life and death. Didier explained, “Ours is a very special thing because
what people remember most is the installation… we represented Bawon (Gede at
the crossroads) and put him at the entrance to the cemetery because that’s
where he traditionally is. We put flowers on the coffins to represent that even
though people are dead they are still in our minds and we remember them.” The
drummers were also accompanied by traditional dancers as part of the
The goal of this first exposition was for CFAJ to do a big grand opening –
something decidedly different to grab the imagination of the city – and
promotion for CFAJ, while at the same time selling some art work to benefit the
cooperative’s ongoing programs. CFAJ offers art training to disadvantaged
children in the area, and some of their paper house and painting projects were
displayed along the work of CFAJ member artists in the two gallery rooms. It
was also a community-oriented event. No admission was charged so residents of
Jacmel came and went throughout the week-long exposition.
In addition to celebrating Gede, Didier and the artists of CFAJ chose this
event to commemorate their friend, Jean Rony David, who passed away last year.
Didier said, “Jean Rony was an artist and friend of ours who worked together
with us. We could not go through this day without thinking of him.” A musician,
Jean Rony was known throughout Jacmel for his guitar playing and his renditions
of popular songs, including a version of “Hotel California” about Jacmel city.
He had a positive spirit and a progressive mind, and really appreciated things
with a cultural aspect.
To honor Jean Rony, Didier created another installation, which included photos
of Jean Rony, his guitar and painter’s palatte, and a funeral wreath.
Co-Director of KONPAY, CFAJ’s fiscal sponsor, Joe Duplan said a few words: “He
was a brother to us and he was always ready to help somebody, whatever the
request. He sleeps with his guitar and he wakes with his guitar. He would have
been here to serenade us.”
CFAJ’s next big project is gearing up for Carnival 2006. This involves
papier-mache masks and floats, decorating a stand on the parade route,
designing a carnival t-shirt and preparing to host the First Annual
International Artist Retreat.
To learn more about Haitian Vodou, see Karen McCarthy Brown, "Mama Lola: A
Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn;" for more on Carnival in Jacmel, Haiti, see
Edwidge Danticat, "After the Dance"