Ghetto Biennale and other recycled art in Haiti

This current trip is my fifth to Haiti.  Usually, for a variety of factors, mostly involving the high cost of travel there, I rush through and do absolutely what I have to do and head home.   I changed things this time.

This has been by far my best trip to Haiti, in fact, one of the best travel experiences anywhere.  I gained new insights.   I met interesting people.  I listened to a variety of music that provided the perfect soundtrack to what I was seeing.  In a first for me in Haiti–although it tends to be my passion just about everywhere else–I ate street food.  I saw loads of art.

Yes, my first full day in Haiti was a very good day.

The first stop happened by chance, when I spotted a yard, if you can call it that, crammed with art from rusty old metal pieces and a sign that read “Ghetto Biennale.” (Despite the name, I think this is up all year long.)

There were a shocking large number of pieces of art with erections.  This was pointed out to me in case I missed it.  I hadn’t.  I’ve never quite thought about that subject in art, and I’m sure I’d have remembered it from Art History 101 had it ever been brought up.   I was, however, assured that it was an optimistic sign, a happy until the end kind of thing.

As I toured the space  it dawned on me that I had seen this gallery on the Haiti episode of No Reservations.  (A show I’ve watched the one time when it was about the country.)    I brought this up to the artist, and he didn’t at all recall meeting a famous American chef.  (And, strangely, this made me happy. )  Also, as I recall the episode, and I could very well be misremembering it,  Bourdain found the art deeply disturbing.  Perhaps he missed  a thing or two.

Nearby I visited another artist who works mostly with used auto parts.  (And, it doesn’t really hurt that I was in the section of Port-au-Prince where there are tons of used auto part stores.)  Some of these photos are included in the slideshow below.

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Amazing art and experiences continued since this first full day in Haiti a mere two days ago.  And, I’ll be back here writing more about it.


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Filed under artisans, food, Haiti, metal art, recycled, recycling, sustainable, travel

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