Event Production & Photos by Rachel Moscoso Denis, President RD Event Consultant and Planning, Inc.
Narration by Fabiola Santiago, Miami Herald
Continental Shifts: The Art of Edouard Duval Carrié. Edited by Edward J. Sullivan. Arte al Día International.
The shades of blue persistent in Edouard Duval Carrié's luscious paintings can only come from one place -- the ocean that envelops his native Haiti like a blessing and a curse. It's a sea of beauty and promise but also of death for many of his compatriots.
Blue is the color through which the Miami-based artist conveys heaves of emotion, and in Continental Shifts: The Art of Edouard Duval Carrié, it assumes center stage, from its prominence in the cover's mixed media, Trois Feuilles Mystique (The Three Mystical Leaves) to Carrié's representation of an androgynous, God-like figure, Erzulie-Dantor, who holds people's fates, literally, in his/her hands.
Edited by Edward J. Sullivan, dean of the School of Arts at New York University, the book presents an overview of Duval Carrié's artistic production to date. Several art critics and cultural experts offer essays that speak to the breadth of his work and its cultural context, especially with regard to the complex belief systems of Vodou that Duval Carrié so mystically depicts in his paintings and sculpture.
Rachel Beauvoir-Dominique sheds light on the Vodou pantheon, explaining such figures as Legba, Guardian of the Gates; the Marassa, powerful twin spirits; Danbala Wedo, the snake spirit, and others.
Peter Sutherland shares a wildly interesting story about Duval Carrié's attempts to stage an installation at Ouidah, the place from which Africans were brought to Haiti in chains. Duval Carrié conceived his installation -- a half-mile line of sculptures -- as a reference to the rituals held on the beach in Haiti to reunite the souls of ancestors with the place in Africa where they belong.
The antenna-like sculptures were to serve as "guides" to the spirits returning home, but when a town leader saw them, he was so confused -- was this art or Vodou (to work against him, perhaps)? -- that he almost torpedoed the project. Years later, Duval Carrié saw the man in a video Sutherland had shot in Africa. To Duval Carrié's surprise, his sculptures were also in the video -- in the background.
In addition to its gorgeous, poster-like renderings of Duval Carrié's work, the book also is a philanthropic project. Proceeds from its sales benefit the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance in Miami.