'Art and the Unbreakable Spirit of Haiti' opened January 9 and continues through May at Fowler Museum at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Showcasing a selection of works collected by the Fowler Museum at UCLA over the past five decades, "Fowler in Focus: Art and the Unbreakable Spirit of Haiti" juxtaposes pieces produced for the international art market with those used in Port-au-Prince Vodou temples and nationwide seasonal festivities.

The pieces illustrate how crucial aspects of the Haitian experience - including significant dates and galvanizing events - are made tangible through artistic and ritual practice.

Sparkling sequined banners and colorful Christmas lanterns, fanciful animal masks, paintings of historic moments, understated crucifixes, and spirit-activated bundles known as pakèts demonstrate the capacity of artistic creativity to powerfully encapsulate the tragedies and triumphs of this island nation. 

The Fowler Museum has a longstanding engagement with the arts of Haiti and has featured works from the island in the exhibitions "Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou" (1995), "Saluting Vodou Spirits: Haitian Flags From the Fowler Collection" (2004) and "Divine Revolution: The Art of Edouard Duval-Carrié " (2004-05). The Fowler's collection of Vodou arts is among the finest public holdings of Haitian arts in the United States.

"Fowler in Focus: Art and the Unbreakable Spirit of Haiti" is curated by Patrick A. Polk, the Fowler Museum's curator of Latin American and Caribbean popular arts, and will be on view through May 2011 in the Fowler in Focus gallery, the central space within the long-term exhibition "Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives."

Article Tags: #Edouard Duval-Carrie #Haitian art exhibit #Fowler Museum at UCLA #Leah Gordon #Patrick A. Polk #Latin American and Caribbean art
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