To feed your imagination and expand your knowledge of Haitian art and culture in preparation for your trip!

Literary Art:

Krik Krak by Edwidge Danticat (Marie’s favorite author)
A collection of short stories
Arriving one year after the Haitian-American’s first novel (Breath, Eyes, Memory) alerted critics to her compelling voice, these 10 stories, some of which have appeared in small literary journals, confirm Danticat’s reputation as a remarkably gifted writer. Examining the lives of ordinary Haitians, particularly those struggling to survive under the brutal Duvalier regime, Danticat illuminates the distance between people’s desires and the stifling reality of their lives. A profound mix of Catholicism and voodoo spirituality informs the tales…These stories inform and enrich one another, as the female characters reveal a common ancestry and ties to the fictional Ville Rose.

The Black Jacobians by C.L.R James

This powerful, intensely dramatic book is the definitive account of the Haitian Revolution of 1794-1803, a revolution that began in the wake of the Bastille but became the model for the Third World liberation movements from Africa to Cuba. It is the story of the French colony of San Domingo, a place where the brutality of master toward slave was commonplace and ingeniously refined. And it is the story of a barely literate slave named Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led the black people of San Domingo in a successful struggle against successive invasions by overwhelming French, Spanish, and English forces and in the process helped form the first independent nation in the Caribbean.

Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work

In this deeply personal book, the celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat reflects on art and exile. Inspired by Albert Camus and adapted from her own lectures for Princeton University’s Toni Morrison Lecture Series, here Danticat tells stories of artists who create despite (or because of) the horrors that drove them from their homelands. Combining memoir and essay, these moving and eloquent pieces examine what it means to be an artist from a country in crisis.

Masters of the Dew, By Jacques Roumain, translated by Mercer Cook and Langston Hughes

A classic Haitian novel.Tells the story of the traditional rural life and people of Haiti, dominated by the natural world. This is a deeply powerful story of the harsh existence of peasant farmers struggling in a world both beautiful and unforgiving. The tale begins with the return of Manuel, a prodigal son, to his aging parents homestead and the realities of subsistence agriculture in a drought-stricken region. He brings new ideas, with the potential to transform the lives of people in the community. He encounters old feuds and resistance to change but he persists, and his determination to bring the people of the village together to improve their lives leads to a dramatic conclusion in this story of redemption.

Masterpieces of Haitian Art by Candice Russell

From painting and sculpture to papier-mache and gorgeously embellished Vodou flags, Russell’s book is a celebration of the best examples in each medium produced in Haiti in the last seven decades. The misunderstood religion of Vodou informs much of the art. Learn about the diverse history of Haitian artistic schools, including the depiction of ordinary life in the Cap-Haitien style, and the mysterious and haunting images that make Saint Soleil so appealing.

Haiti: The Aftershocks of History by Laurent Dubois

Even before the devastating 2010 earthquake, Haiti was known as a benighted place of poverty and corruption, blamed by many for its own wretchedness. But as acclaimed historian Laurent Dubois demonstrates, Haiti’s troubled present can only be understood by examining its complex past. The country’s difficulties are inextricably rooted in its founding revolution—the only successful slave revolt in the history of the world; the hostility that this rebellion generated among the surrounding colonial powers; and the intense struggle within Haiti itself to define its newfound freedom and realize its promise. Revealing what lies behind the familiar moniker “the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere,” this indispensable book illuminates the foundations on which a new Haiti might yet emerge.

Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed
Link to author’s website:
One of Roell’s favorite novels, Ishmael Reed’s satiric 1972 masterpiece deconstructs Western civilisation via “Jes Grew” outbreaks of Black culture causing dancing(!) slang(!!) and Jazz(!!!) epidemics throughout the US despite the worst efforts of the nefarious Wallflower Order responsible for both the Great Depression and the US occupation of Haiti (1915-1934). The sheer musicality, movement and inventive brilliance of the text makes it a must-read for experimental dance, music and literature lovers.

Cinematic Art:

The Agronomist
Director: Jonathan Demme
Highly respected documentary by USA filmmaker Jonathan Demme about Haiti’s first independent radio station, Radio Haiti-Inter, and Jean Dominique,the human rights activist and radio host. Includes historical footage as well as interviews with Dominique and his wife, Michéle Montas, conducted shortly before his assassination in 2000.

Stones in the Sun,
Director: Patricia Benoit
A couple, two sisters and a father and son are driven to New York from Haiti to confront the truths of their interlocked pasts. Available Streaming on Amazon and purchase on Itunes

Film Shorts:

Dans anba tonèl

Magic Oloffson

Telefòn Jouda – Yon Leson lavi- A life Lesson
99 years old and after a long and brilliant artistic career Emerante de Pradines opens a new art school. This extraordinary woman leaves a formidable imprint on the music, the dance and the culture of Haiti. And to the end, she grows her legacy. Emerante de Pardines is a Haitian legend and mother of Richard Morse (owner of Hotel Oloffson). She recently passed away after leaving behind a rich legacy.

Katherine Dunham in Haiti

Just for fun:

Top Five
Written, Directed by and Starring Chris Rock

Link to review on HaitianFilmmakersBlogspot.
Chris Rock plays a comedian who attempts to show his dramatic chops with “Uprize” – a feature film about the Haitian Revolution. It’s genuinely hilarious and how the Links staff first learned about Haitian breakfast. Available streaming on Amazon.

Visual Art:

In Perpetual Gratitude to Nicole Smith
Link to The HistoryMakers ArtMakers Profile
Gallery owner, and one of Marie Casimir’s mentors, Nicole Smith opened Nicole Gallery in Chicago in 1986 and for the next 25 years made it into one of the most renowned Haitian, African and African American art galleries in the US. Ms. Smith bequeathed her collection to the Haitian American Museum of Chicago upon her passing in 2016.

Haitian American Museum of Chicago
Founded in 2012, HMOC hosts a wide array of programs and exhibits showcasing Haiti’s rich culture and art as well as its complex history in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.

The Richard and Erna Flagg Collection of Haitian Art
The Milwaukee Art Museum
The Flaggs, who began collecting Haitian art in 1973, proceeded to amass one of the world’s foremost collections of 20th-century Haitian art. Kantara Souffrant (Links Hall Curatorial Resident 2016) manages the museum’s school and teacher program and was by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2017 about the collection: “Art museum’s Haitian collection explores spirituality, history, daily life.”

Waterloo Center for the Arts in Waterloo, Iowa
Reuling Feldman Galleries
In 1977, collectors Dr. and Mrs. F. Harold Reuling donated several paintings they had purchased while vacationing in Haiti. The permanent collection has grown to over 1,500 works and is recognized as the largest public collection of Haitian art in the world. Check out this article from Ozy: “The Curious State With the Largest Collection of Haitian Art


Culinary Art:

Kizin Creole Restaurant
2311 Howard Street
More than a restaurant, Kizin Creole is a cultural center, the very heart of the Haitian community in the Midwest, promoting Haitian art, music, the language of Creole, literature, etc. “This is where Haitian families, friends, foreigners, and lovers of Haitian culture hangout in good company”. Stop by and say hello to the owner Daniel Desir who is also Artistic Director of Tamboula Ethnic Dance Company.

Haitian Cuisine Resource