Saturday, 23 January 2010

Saturday Photo: Painting from Haiti

This picture is one of three I bought from a roadside art dealer when I was in Haiti in 1973 or '74 (can't remember which). My sister and brother-in-law had invited me along while he scouted for some development deals. He didn't come up with any--the place was much poorer than he expected, I think--and my sister was shocked through and through by the poverty.

It was my first trip outside the US or Canada, and my assumptions about the world were deeply rocked. By chance, however, I had read V.S. Naipaul's brilliant novel of Trinidad, A House for Biswas, just before, so I think I had some appreciation before hand of what life might be like on a Caribbean island.

One of the things that impressed me mightly was the vibrant art created by local artisans. The execution of the three pieces I bought is not refined, but I've always liked the energy of this market scene. Certainly Haitians will need as much energy as they can summon in the months ahead.

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