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--> Category: An Expression of the Haitian Soul - Jane Mason 

For a visitor to this impoverished country, it is humbling to witness the easy, joyful spirits of the people as they place their trust in God for all things.
An expression of the Haitian Soul

Haitian Art and culture has been described as an extraordinary blend of African, French, Spanish, and Indian influence, reflecting the unique multicultural mix of this Caribbean island. Yet those who have visited Haiti would see it as an expression of the Haitian soul.

While some Haitian art may lack the polish found in more developed countries, it makes up for this with a deep and engaging representation of humanity. The Haitian artist finds holiness in the ordinary subjects of every day life. A crowded and colorful village market, the lined face of an elderly man, a mother embracing her child with tenderness, or women gathered at the river to wash their laundry, these are simple, soulful images commonly found in Haitian art. It is this soulfulness that attracts so many to admire and collect this remarkable art.

Traveling in Haiti, one is likely to find many examples of artistic ingenuity. Figures such as the Blessed Mother or a crucifix skillfully carved from scraps of wood are common. Recycled petroleum drums are often transformed into beautiful wall hangings or bowls. Many of these feature the trademark Haitian bright colors and familiar, natural beauty such as the crescent moon, blazing sun, or tropical flowers. Leather and wood masks in various colors, sizes and styles seem to be a particular favorite of this island.

Despite the often-barren surroundings, each individual in Haiti has an artistic view of the world as expressed in the many songs sung by heart. Haitian music reflects a profound faith in God and a sense of gratitude for their many blessings. For a visitor to this impoverished country, it is humbling to witness the easy, joyful spirits of the people as they place their trust in God for all things.

By Jane Mason
Saint Joseph Worker Foundation


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