In 1804, Haiti became the first black republic to win independence from European colonial powers, and the second in the Western Hemisphere, following the United States. For more than two centuries, Haiti has enjoyed self-sovereignty, but not without expense; to this day, it continues to pay France war reparations. Despite the trials it has faced, including American occupation and a series of despotic regimes that have plunged the nation into constant upheaval, the Haitian people rise to the challenges and confront the issues that must be faced.
Restoring the Spirit: Celebrating Haitian Art, now on view at the Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA, through May 15, 2016, was curated by Rima Girnius from the Haitian collection at the Figge Art Museum, as a response to the 2010 earthquake. The exhibition is a landmark survey of Haiti’s complex visual traditions from 1940 to the present, providing a portrait of its artists’ devotion to creative endeavors in the face of adversity.