Provost’s Lecture Series :: Edouard Duval-Carrié, Haiti: History Embedded in Amber

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 –
Location: Franklin Humanities Institute Garage – C105, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse

Part of the 2010-11 Provost’s Lecture Series, “Natural Disasters & Human Responses,” this lecture will be drawn from Edouard Duval-Carrié’s collaborative art project with the Haiti Lab, Haiti: History Embedded in Amber. Co-sponsored by the Haiti Lab and Vice Provost for the Arts. Download flyer here.

Duval-Carrié was born in Haiti, and raised in several countries, including Puerto Rico and Canada. He was educated at the prestigious McGill University in Canada and at the Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux arts in Paris, and has traveled to the ancestral home of Haitian Vodou, the Republic of Benin. Although his work shows a cosmopolitan diversity, Haiti remains his major inspiration. In a variety of media and “visual concoctions,” he grapples with the disasters that have beset Haiti throughout her history, and the disaster that Haiti represents for many today. His work explores the genesis of the island nation, and the suffering that brought the society of slaves and masters to ebullition in the Haitian Revolution. He is equally inspired by the recent migration of hundreds of thousands of Haitians to the US, and the associations of Haitians with a pathology that he renders as an aesthetically gorgeous bacterial pattern. Throughout his work Duval-Carrié never loses sight of the fabulous world of spirits. “Loas,” “Esprits” or “Mystères” all convey a sense of foreboding inspiring the nebulousness from whence they came. Duval-Carrié’s widely exhibited work has been catalogued in six books and is featured in numerous permanent collections including the Miami Museum of Art and the Musée des Art Africains et Oceaniens.

Project: Haiti Lab

This Haiti Lab independent study project (ROMST 190A for ½ credit or ROMST 190 for 1 credit) offers Duke Art and Art History students the opportunity to participate actively in making a collaborative artwork entitled “Haiti: History Embedded in Amber” with celebrated Haitian-American artist Edouard Duval-Carrié. Duval-Carrié will be on campus onSeptember 3-5, October 1-3, and December 7-9, 2010. This project is made possible by the generous support of the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts.

With guidance from Duval-Carrié, graduate assistant Jessye McDowell, and Haiti Lab faculty, student apprentices in this project will create plaques using resin epoxy and ink jet transparencies, to be assembled into an approximately 4 by 8 foot artwork that will be exhibited on Duke campus. The process will be documented, and Edouard Duval-Carrié will present the work and process for the Provost’s Lecture Series on “Natural Disasters and Human Responses.”

Students will work with the artist on design choices to thematize the Haitian earthquake disaster of Jan.12, 2010, and its aftermath. What aesthetic would render the “survival montage” now evident in Haiti, where tent shanties are built right up to the pedestals of statues commemorating the Haitian Revolution, and resettlement camps crowd the gates of a collapsed National Palace? How can we process disaster and survival in art? Was Haiti’s independence as the first black republic (1804) also considered a “disaster” for slave-holding powers? How are recovery processes and partners becoming imbricated in Haitian culture?