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--> Category: Art is opening doors - CNN 

Art is opening doors for Haiti. It serves as, perhaps, Haiti´s best ambassador to the world.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CNN) -- It's on the street where craftsmen tirelessly hammer out what will become colorful metal cutouts. It's also in the numerous galleries of Port-au-Prince. Art, Haitian-style, is both a way of life and a way of making a living.

It started in the 1940s in Cape Haitian, where the French influence in the former colony gave way to a distinct style. Soon art lovers there and abroad began to take note of Haitian paintings. They were very colorful, says Alexis Gerard, director of the art museum in Port-au-Prince. They were pleasant, fresh, very naturalistic, simple. And so, a taste developed for that kind of art.

The design and intricacy has evolved to become much more sophisticated. The themes are as varied as the price tag. One piece may cost $2, another $2,000.

Scenes from ordinary life decorate the pieces, as well as the political realities of Haiti. One painting depicts Haitian police beating crowds of people as they cheer on last year's U.S.-led military intervention.

Haitian artists such as Phillipe Dodard exhibit their paintings and sculptures all over the world. Yet, thousands of paintings are exhibited every day, rain or shine, on the streets of Port-au-Prince. Most of them are copies of the work of better-known artists.

It's not just love of art which has made artists of a large segment of the population. Forty years ago, a teacher made $10 a month, while even the most mediocre painter could make $40 by selling one painting.

Today, Haiti is one of the few countries in the world where art is a primary industry, partly because there is very little other work, but also because the Haitians' particular creativity. They say that God created man and man created art, Dodard says. And the fact that Haiti has so much political problems; it's like art is a doorway to a new life.

Art is opening doors for Haiti. It serves as, perhaps, Haiti's best ambassador to the world.

Art is opening doors - CNN
by CNN


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