The island nation of Haiti is the focus of two new exhibitions opening at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14, at the Denison Museum (240 West Broadway). The premiere of a 15-minute film, “Dumay an Santé,” also will take place at 7 p.m. that evening. The exhibitions, “Heart of Haiti” and “Resistance and Resiliency in Haitian Art: Selections from the Figge Art Museum,” will remain at the museum until Saturday, Dec. 8, and are open Mondays through Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m., with extended hours on Thursdays until 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.denisonmuseum.org or contact Sherry Harlacher, Director of the Museum, at 740-587-5713.
“Heart of Haiti” is a collection of 50 unforgettable photographs by Andrea Baldeck, a physician who has become a fine arts photographer. In the 1980s, Baldeck, accompanied by her camera, made several trips to Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in central Haiti to volunteer as an anesthesiologist. She returned to rural Haiti as a photographer in the mid-1990s and assembled a compelling series of black-and-white portraits. Informed by Baldeck’s lifelong passion for art and science, each photograph is accompanied by a one-line Creole proverb that serves as a counterpoint to the dignity, charm and beauty of her Haitian subjects. The exhibition was organized by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
“Resistance and Resiliency in Haitian Art: Selections from the Figge Art Museum,” is comprised of 10 exemplary works on loan from one of the world’s oldest collections of Haitian art. The works pay homage to the courage and creativity of the island’s complex Caribbean culture. In 1804, Haiti became the first, and only, successful slave revolt in the history of the modern world. However, independence was followed by chronic political upheaval and natural disasters, which have continued to batter the island’s mostly poor and disenfranchised majority. Despite, or perhaps in response to such hardships, Haiti developed a vibrant and provocative artistic tradition, which is well represented here.
“Dumay an Santé” (A Healthy Dumay), a 15-minute film shot in April 2012 by Jeff Hammond and Doriana Westerman of Global Eyes Media, will be premiered as part of the opening reception. The film documents the close relationship between the Haitian community of Dumay and Healing Art Missions. Healing Art Missions is a local nonprofit that supports primary health care for the Dumay population of 20,000.
As a teaching museum, Denison Museum engages in and supports learning and inquiry in the liberal arts. Cultural heritage materials, both borrowed and drawn from the University’s permanent collection, serve as significant components in the University’s academic curriculum and form the basis of exhibitions and programs. Denison Museum is committed to caring for and managing its collection and resources for the benefit of a diverse audience that extends beyond students and faculty to include visitors and learners from around the world.