Haiti Cultural Exchange hosts Haitians from the Diaspora: A photo exhibition

Haiti Cultural Exchange will present Haitians from the Diaspora: Creativity & Focus. The photo exhibition will open on Saturday, Aug. 24 from 5p.m. to 7p.m. at Five Myles Gallery, 558 St Johns Place in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The closing reception will be held on Thursday, Sept. 5 from 6p.m. to 8p.m. The exhibiting photographers are Michaëlle Chapoteau, Marie-Jeanne Fethière, Richard Louissaint and Jean H. Marcelin, curated by Régine M. Roumain.

Haitians from the Diaspora: Creativity & Focus will present the works of four photographers living in the U.S. who are capturing images of their fellow Diaspora. This exhibition will focus on the intersections of politics, art, space and tradition versus contemporary culture. 

The opening reception will be directly followed by Kont ak Mizik Anba Tonèl: Ochan pou Mimi Barthélémy. Visit haiticulturalx.org/program-03 for details.

Michaëlle Chapoteau immigrated to the Unites States from Haiti as a teenager. She began as a street photographer inspired by the words of French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson: "The Decisive Moment," describing that fraction of a second where intuition decides when to click the shutter or the moment is gone. 

Chapoteau focuses on the New York every day; common scenes become spectacular in her photographs of parades, performers, protests and anything that appears on the other side of the lens within that decisive moment. Her work has been exhibited in Chashama Gallery, The Rising Arts Gallery, Freida & Roy Furman Gallery at Lincoln Center, and at the 2012 4Hr Nap & Caribbean Art project in Grenada.

Chapoteau's featured works are an artistic acknowledgment of the importance of Haitian musicians and visual artists. The concept aims to pay homage to the talents, dedication and perseverance of these artists who are bringing Haitian culture to universal audiences.

Marie-Jeanne Fethière is a self-taught photographer whose expressive style captures the unique, authentic and unexpected moments she finds in her present environment, wherever that might be. 

This collection of photographs is Fethière's attempt to illustrate different aspects of Haitian immigrant and second generation life as she sees it in NYC. Moments shared with Haitian spiritual, artistic, entrepreneurial and professional persons offer up the intimate shots found in this body of work. 

Richard Louissaint was born in Montreal to two loving Haitian parents before migrating to New York City at a very young age. Growing up in Queens, he was exposed to a wide spectrum of the Caribbean Diaspora while being very influenced by the African-American experience. 

Richard spent most of his early adulthood as a music journalist before earning an MFA in Creative Writing. But life and a new recession had other plans for him, leading him to take his hobby in photography more seriously. His work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, Harriet's Alter Ego Gallery, The International Center of Photography's Rita K. Hillman Education Gallery and Brooklyn Borough Hall and has expanded to video.

Louissaint's photos are a selection from The Haitian Creatives Series, an ongoing series that began as a long term project to document the community of Haitian artists living and working in New York. This is about them; the musicians, painters, radio hosts, actors, and beyond.

Jean H. Marcelin was born in New York and spent his childhood years in Flatbush. During a trip to Havana in 2005, Jean became extremely interested in documentary-style photography. Inspired by the culture of the Caribbean and his Haitian heritage, Jean found his photographic voice. His travels to the Caribbean and France have added to Jean's collection of documentary reportage which captures the day-to-day life of real people through close personal perspective.

Jean is currently an educator in Miami. He also serves as the executive director and co-founder of a youth mentorship program, Fe Pou Li which roughly translates to "to do for them." His work has been exhibited at Habana Outpost's Haiti Relief Exhibition, FotoKonbit at MOCA and the Little Haiti Cultural Center. Jean has also lent his skill as a cinematographer to a number of short and feature length documentary films pertaining to the Haitian society.

Marcelin views this selection of photos as an ode to his memories of Flatbush, and an attempt to capture a community of Haitians in the Diaspora who, through their art, lifestyle and daily existence show that their hearts are firmly planted in Haiti.

The exhibition is curated by Régine M. Roumain. Born in the United States but raised in Haiti, Régine founded Haiti Cultural Exchange in 2009 with a group of other Haitian women concerned with the lack of visibility and centralization of the Haitian cultural community. Currently the executive director of HCX, Roumain's knowledge of Haitian art and eye for quality emerging and established talent has made her a presenting icon in the Haitian arts community. This is her first curated show.  

For more information, visit haiticulturalx.org/program-06