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HomeNewsArchivesMango Tango: Haitian Intuitive Art Show, Friday

Mango Tango: Haitian Intuitive Art Show, Friday

May 22, 2006 – Poverty and political upheaval are constants in the Caribbean nation of Haiti. The creativity of the self-taught artists transcends the chaos of the troubled islands. Haiti might be the poorest country in the western hemisphere, but her art is very rich and powerful.
It is with great pride that Mango Tango Art Gallery presents the Haitian Intuitive Art Show on May 26th, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. On view will be paintings, Vodou flags, steel drum sculpture, and obeechI wood bowls.
The subject matter of the paintings includes mermaids, jungles, markets, farms, and portraits. More expensive works on canvas are created by the artists of the School of San Soleil, such as Levoy Exil, Paul Dieuseul, and Prospere Pierre-Louis. The trio create soulful renderings of spirits and have exhibited internationally. When Andre Malraux visited their art commune in 1975, he was so mesmerized by their paintings that he immortalized them by prominently featuring the San Soleil movement in his last book, "L'Intemporel."
This exhibition also features lavishly decorated ritual flags (drapo) that have become the most celebrated genre of the Afro-Caribbean religion of Vodou. Made of satin, rayon, and adorned with sequins, beads, or appliqué, these flags are presented at the beginning of ceremonies to salute the spirits and to marshal the energies of the devotees. Each flag contains tens of thousands of sequins fastened to the back panel. New York's American Museum of Natural History and Baltimore's American Visionary Museum have permanent collections with drapo prominently displayed. Folklorist Donald J. Cosentino, a scholar of Haitian art, considers the flags both artifacts and high art.
The steel drum sculpture is unique to Haiti. Recycling old metal drums to create an art form is an example of poverty-stricken artists using imagination. The old drums, once used to deliver chemicals and petrol, are purchased for a small amount in the capital near the port. They are brought by cart to the artists' workshops. After the ends of the drum are cut out for smaller works, fire is used to remove any paints or chemicals, and the drum is physically flattened by the weight of the artist. All designs are created by hand tools, the hammer and chisel.
The sculptures they create are representations of snakes, mermaids, dragons, angels, bulls, all of which are strongly influenced by Vodou. Characteristics of the signed metal cut-outs made from the flattened drums include areas that are concave or convex, intricate patterns created by hammering bumps of different heights, lines chiseled in to define characteristics of the object, and a clear varnish sealer.
These works of art will gain more value in time, now that the modern 55-gallon drum is made of plastic. As the steel drum disappears from the scene, the art of the steel drum sculpture will also become rarer, and increase in value.
The show also includes a debut of obeechI bowls from the Einstein Estate in southern Haiti. Before the embargo, A. Einstein had a successful business selling his exquisite wooden pieces to high-end retailers like Neiman-Marcus. Since 1990, he has had a cut-and-replant program for the tree species he uses. He is concerned about the environment and about making works of art.
Each bowl is finished in a 14-step process that includes men carving the bowls and women applying the layers of polyurethane (totally food safe) and a poly-satin finish. They gently sand between each coat as it dries. The bowls can be washed with water and soap without damage to the finish. Einstein wants to both ensure that there will be new trees for future generation to create bowls, and that the ones created under his direction will last your lifetime.
Bring friends and make friends, while viewing the creativity of Haiti. This exhibition has taken over a year to assemble. Enjoy the blues and rock and roll of 2 Blue Shoes. For more information call 777-3060. Click Here to learn more about the Gallery.

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