By Rande Archer
Emerging deep from the New Orleans’ Museum of Art archives and to LSU’s own Museum of Art comes an unique collection of art. Consisting of over 80 pieces of art work, LSU Museum of Arts latest exhibit “The Carnival, The City, and The Sea” brings the collection of Christian missionary Perry Smith to Baton Rouge. The collection, only shown once before, will demonstrate and display a variety of pieces of Haitian artwork, assembled over a period of time when Smith was serving as a Missionary in Haiti.
Opening this past Friday and remaining open until March 30th, the exhibit will focus on three elements or inspirations that are common within Haitian culture and are the namesake of the exhibit. The Carnival aspect focuses on the Haitian annual Rara festival which hosts several parades that feature costumes and decorations that pay homage to Haitian cultural deities. The festival takes place during Catholic Lent and even goes on into our Easter Weekend.
The second element will focus on “the City” aspect of Haiti, which demonstrates the importance of cities for Haitian culture acting as focal points for commerce, art and infrastructure. The works from this element aim to reflect that and convey that importance.
The final focus of the exhibit is the element of the titular Sea. Due to the country’s water-locked nature, an important aspect of life and culture in Haiti is the sea. The pieces of art that revolve around this concept aim to portray its importance and influence to the Haitian people.
The works of art will span the generations of Haitian art, from the first generation of artists all the way to recent pieces. Art work will include paintings, metal work, in addition to paper-mache sculptures and painted screens.
Since the exhibit features over 80 works, the variety the artists bring is a plethora of examples of art styles. Since Smith collection features artists that run the gambit of Haiti’s art scene. Examples include first generation artists such as Toussaint Auguste and the renown Philomé Obin as well as works from Obin’s children, Antoine, Seneque, and Telemaque Obin. Other renown Haitian artists that the exhibit will feature include Wilson Bigaud, Rigaud Benoit, and Gerard Valcin.