MCLA G51 Announces Exhibition of Haitian Art


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Gallery 51 will present "Persistence of Spirit," an exhibition of paintings by three prominent Haitian artists, Philippe Dodard, Gontron Durocher and Ronald Mevs. The show will run from Thursday, Jan. 30, through Sunday, Feb. 23, in the Main Street gallery.

An opening reception will be held on Thursday, Jan. 30, 5-7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

"Persistence of Spirit," which includes 27 paintings, originally was curated by Guy Michel Telemaque, a member of the visual arts faculty and the Gordon Gallery director at the Boston Arts Academy, where the exhibition is on display through Jan. 23.

According to Julia Morgan-Leamon, MCLA Gallery 51 manager, Telemaque organized a collection of important paintings that will provide a window for viewers into contemporary life in Haiti.

"This show provides a glimpse of the strength, resilience, and vitality of the Haitian people in the face of significant economic and social challenges," Morgan-Leamon said. "We are lucky to have such a show come to our little corner of New England."

Telemaque said because Dodard, Durocher and Mevs were linked in stories of the past - including the 2010 Haitian earthquake - he decided to reunite them, in a sense, through this exhibition of their powerfully moving work.

"Their forays into contemporary ideas, while maintaining a keen connection with tradition, make for an engag-ing, multifaceted show. They have produced an" antèn virtuel," a virtual antenna, transmitting a country's struggles and legacy," Telemaque said. The exhibition "expands the conversation about Haiti, beyond its identity as an impoverished country, with evidence."

Last year, eight MCLA students and Melanie Mowinski, MCLA associate professor of visual art, spent time with Dodard when they traveled to Haiti on a cultural immersion trip, where Dodard led them on a behind-the-scenes tour of Haitian art.

"Dodard's work pulses back and forth between graphic black and white pattern-like images that conjure up faces, bodies, movement and ones with broad strokes and splashes of the spectacular color and light of the Caribbean - yet also references a history of influences both European and African," Mowinski said. "I'm looking forward to our students experiencing his and the other artists' works."

Dodard's work has been exhibited in galleries in the United States and Europe. He recently partnered with designer Donna Karen.

All three artists were born in Port au Prince and continue to live and work in Haiti. Dodard and Durocher live and work in Petionville, Haiti, while Mevs lives in Jacmel, Haiti. 

"Persistence of Spirit" will be on exhibit in MCLA Gallery 51 through Sunday, Feb. 23. The gallery is open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, go to gallery51.