On view from May 26 to August 6, the show highlights 27 Haitian artists who illuminate facets of Haiti’s political history and creative abundance
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. — Beginning May 26th, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale will present Cosmic Mirrors, bringing together some of the most striking artworks created by Haitian artists from the 1950s to 2000s. The exhibition, drawn almost exclusively from the Museum’s rich collection of over 160 Haitian art works features contemporary artists such as Serge Jolimeau (b.1952, Croix-des-Bouquets), Pascale Monnin (b.1974, Port-au-Prince) and Frantz Zéphirin (b.1968, Cap Haitien, Haiti), alongside masters of the Haitian Renaissance, such as Roland Dorcely (1930-2007), Néhémy Jean (1931-2007), Louisiane Saint Fleurant (1924-2005) and Ismael Saincilus (1940-2000), who in the early and mid-twentieth century, established the ateliers, movements and markets that formed the country’s modernist aesthetic.
The exhibition is mounted in dialogue with the Museum’s concurrent show, Kathia St. Hilaire: Immaterial Being, the first solo museum presentation by the South Florida-born artist.As the child of Haitian émigrés, St. Hilaire combines found objects that act as symbols of Black American experience, such as packaging from hair relaxers and skin lightening creams, with visual and material references to Haitian culture. These combined elements create a visual representation of the St. Hilaire’s identity formation, growing up within the diasporic Afro-Caribbean community in Florida.
The Museum recently acquired St. Hilaire’s Tout Moun Se Yo Moun (Everyone is Someone) 2022, which was purchased with funds provided by the members of the Museum’s Curator Circle.
Cosmic Mirrors provides viewers with a deeper context through which to orient St. Hilaire’s presentation, while also offering a unique opportunity to view some of the Museum’s most significant artworks connected to this Greater Antillean nation.
The exhibition thematically guides viewers across an arrangement of work by 27 artists, both celebrated and unknown, that together illuminate facets of Haiti’s political history and creative abundance. Subjects include depictions of the nation’s founding, resultant of the only successful slave-rebellion in modern history, along with representations of the country’s spiritual syncretism between colonial Catholic beliefs and vodou cosmology, as well as depictions of the country’s lush terrain, romantically presented as a pastoral idyll.
The exhibition’s title refers to the Haitian Vodou belief in a parallel universe, referred to as Laviloka or Afrik Ginen. This land is both real and divine, functioning as an inverse reflection of the physical world. This cosmic sphere is populated by the immortal spirits of the country’s African ancestors and spiritual divinities, and through spiritual ceremony, reaches into our own profane realm. Beyond this understanding of another dimension, the title points to the leitmotif of doubles, reflexives and equivalents, that are persistent throughout Haitian culture.
Cosmic Mirrors showcases a selection of recently donated gifts to the NSU Art Museum Collection, presented by Carol J. Horning and Linda Marks. These generous offerings have enriched the Museum’s representation of Haitian culture, which remains critical to our mission to reflect and engage with the culture and communities that define our region.
Situated midway between Miami and Palm Beach, NSU Art Museum is located in the heart of Downtown Fort Lauderdale. The Museum is a premier destination for exhibitions and programs encompassing all facets of civilization’s visual history and is widely known for its significant collection of Latin American art, contemporary art with an emphasis on art by Black, Latin American and women artists, as well as works by American artist William Glackens and the European Cobra group of artists. For more information, please visit https://nsuartmuseum.org.