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.
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.