Hanging from the walls of LSU’s Museum of Art, Haitian art brings together the culture and feel of Mardi Gras.
The Carnival, The City, The Sea which opened in December and will stay open until March 20th, features a smoothly curated blast of colorful works which highlight the similarities between Haiti and Louisiana lifestyles.
The exhibit is kept by Dr. Sarah Klunis, who is from New Orleans and has a Haitian background. Coordinator of School and Community Programs Lucy Perera said the exhibit is the collection of missionary Perry Smith who collected this work over the time he was in Haiti. She said this is the first time the art has been in an exhibit.
Perera said Smith chose to tell the story of this artwork by dividing it into these different categories: The Carnival, The City, and The Sea.
The art hinges on a perspective of Haitian life which link the elements of voodoo and celebration between New Orleans Mardi Gras culture and Haitian carnivals and parades. Executive Director of the LSU MoA Daniel Stetson said and example is the shotgun house, whose entire architecture style can be credited to Haiti.
“When you’re in a room like this, where you see all these people pictured in these paintings at first might simply look like a folk art form or something, then you realize there is a sophistication of design and ability, it’s a school of art,” Stetson said.
He said there was a point where 50 percent of New Orleans was Haitian.
“Caribbean culture and history that came into Louisiana, into this part of our nation, you can see the French influence and style,” he said.
As for the artwork’s construction, Stetson said the artists worked with the materials made available to them.
“A lot of those are done on the metal tops of barrels that come in through the port, you’ll see a sculpture and it’s no bigger than the size of the circle of the barrel,” he said.
Stetson said this sense of survival and creating something out of nothing can create something beautiful with its rooted traditions and community.
With Mardi Gras holiday approaching, MoA will be hosting “First Free Sunday.” On Feb. 7 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. free admission and family art activities will take place in conjunction to the exhibit.