HAITI / ART

31-May-2010 00:09:59
Haitian art and culture has always been recognized worldwide, the vibrant paintings that fetch thousands of dollars in the US and Europe were the country's greatest source of foreign currency. But, for many Haitian artists, the earthquake changed their lives beyond all recognition. UNTV / MINUSTAH
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STORY: HAITI / ART
TRT: 9.59
SOURCE: 21st CENTURY/ CINE INSTITUTE, JACMEL, HAITI
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / CREOLE / NATS

DATELINE: MARCH 2010, HAITI / FILE
SHOTLIST
1. Various shots, Prince Luc painting
SOUNDBITE (Creole) Prince Luc, artist, Haiti:
"It doesn't come into my head to do something that I see, or something realistic. Most of all, I prefer impressionistic, surreal, a bit naive."
2. Tilt up, painting
3. Med shot, prince Luc walking

FILE / ARCHIVAL IMAGES / CINE INSTITUTE

4. Various shots, Jacmel carnival

MARCH 2010, HAITI / FILE

5. Various shots, Jacmel silent carnival
6. Various shots, cemetery

FILE / MINUSTAH / JANUARY 2010

7. Various shots, survivors rescue operation

MARCH 2010, JACMEL, HAITI

8. Various shots, people in street
9. Various shots, artwork
10. Various shots, Prince luc bathes Samara
11. Various shots, Prince Luc walks in art center
12. SOUNDBITE (Creole) Prince Luc, artist, Haiti:
"You could hear a noise, but you didn't know where this noise was coming from."
13. Med shot, Prince Luc with Samara
14. SOUNDBITE (Creole) Prince Luc, artist, Haiti:
"Everybody, instead of staying standing up, threw themselves on the ground. But we didn't know if the ground was gong to open up. if we were going to fall inside. We didn't know anything."
15. Various shots, Prince Luc's house in ruins
16. Wide shot, Prince Luc in his studio

FILE / MINUSTAH / JANUARY 2010

17. Med shot, people with putting dead in coffin
18. Various shots, destruction
19. Various shots, homeless people in streets
20. Various shots, destroyed buildings

MARCH 2010, JACMEL, HAITI

21. Tilt down, from Prince Luc entering home to Samara on the floor
22. Zoom out, destroyed buildings
23. Various shots, artwork
24. Med shot, ruins
25. SOUNDBITE (Creole) Patrick Vilaire, sculptor, Haiti:
"This museum houses all the artistic legacy of the grand period of Haitian painting."
26. Various shots, Patrick Vilaire and Axelle Liautaud at the museum
27. SOUNDBITE (Creole) Patrick Vilaire, sculptor, Haiti:
"This collection here is where you find all the works of the Masters of Haitian painting, the great artistic movement that was born in 1945. I came here today, after the earthquake, to try and save the collection, because it's in danger!"
28. Various shots, museum in ruin
29. Various shots, Patrick Vilaire at the museum
30. SOUNDBITE (Creole) Patrick Vilaire, sculptor, Haiti:
"It's a painting by a Haitian artist who lives in France"
31. Various shots, people working inside the museum in ruins
32. Various shots, art at the museum
33. Various shots, rubble and art in the rubble
34. Various shots, destroyed church
35. SOUNDBITE (English) Teeluck Bhuwanee, UNESCO, Haiti:
"Economically, culture can save this country because it has an enormous amount of talent in all ways."
36. Zoom in, Teeluck Bhuwanee inside the church in ruin
SOUNDBITE (English) Teeluck Bhuwanee, UNESCO, Haiti:
"If this country can rebuild itself it's going to do it on its culture and it's going to do it on its artisans."
37. Pan left, church in ruin
38. SOUNDBITE (English) Teeluck Bhuwanee, UNESCO, Haiti:
"Churches are very important. They have a very strong symbolic and cultural value for the people. This is where people meet and get together and sing and that is the basic identity of the country."
39. Various shots, church in ruin
40. Zoom in, Prince Luc in the ruins of his former home
41. Med shot, Prince Luc painting
42. SOUNDBITE (Creole) Prince Luc, artist, Haiti:
"After the earthquake, I didn't really know who I was anymore. I am now praying to my 'genie.'"
43. Various shots, Prince Luc painting
44. Various shots, scenes of voodoo ceremony
45. Various shots, art pieces
46. Various shots, scenes of voodoo ceremony
47. SOUNDBITE (Creole) Prince Luc, artist, Haiti:
"Our culture, our strength - it's rather a kind of battle, it's a sharing. I want to go back to our culture - to show it how it is. Sometimes my work is on this voodoo theme."
48. Med shot, voodoo ceremony
49. Various shots, art pieces
50. Med shot, voodoo ceremony

MARCH 2010, PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI

51. Med shot, Nacius Joseph in port-au -prince
52. Various shots, Nacius Joseph chanting
53. SOUNDBITE (Creole) Nacius Joseph, artist, Haiti:
"I was in church attending a service. We felt the movement of the earth.
Jesus - everybody called "Jesus. This was the only name, the only sound. By a miracle, God did not let the church fall on us and we came out safely. This is something we can't explain. It was marvellous."
54. Various shots, Haitians chanting
55. Various shots, people and Nacius Joseph chanting
56. Various shots, Nacius Joseph walks to the camp
57. Various shots, Nacius Joseph sculptures
58. Various shots, Nacius Joseph sculpting
59. Wide shot, Axelle Liautaud and Nacius Joseph in the gallery
58. Various shots, sculptures
59. Various shots, Wide shot, Axelle Liautaud and Nacius Joseph in the gallery
60. Various shots, Nacius Joseph sculptures
61. Various shots, Nacius Joseph in camp
62. Various shots, cracked house
62. SOUNDBITE (Creole) Nacius Joseph, artist, Haiti:
"My house is cracked. We can't sleep in it. That's why we are behind here."
63. Various shots, Nacius Joseph and his wife in their house
64. Various shots, camp
65. SOUNDBITE (Creole) Nacius Joseph, artist, Haiti:
"There is nothing, no food, completely bare. "We are still alive but we have no means."
66. Various shots, camp scenes

MARCH 2010, JACMEL, HAITI

67. Wide shot, Prince Luc walking to the art creation foundation
68. Various shots, Prince Luc with art students
69. SOUNDBITE (Creole) Prince Luc, artist, Haiti:
"We should demonstrate what we have experienced, and that's why they're working on the walls - with their impressions, their feelings, with their fear. When you go inside the building, you see that they're beginning to be inspired."
70. Various shots, interior of the art foundations with Prince Luc and children
71. Med shot, Prince Luc and Samara
72. Close up, art work
73. SOUNDBITE (Creole) Prince Luc, artist, Haiti:
"Before, I preferred the colours that spoke of Life, that have more elements that are more joyful, because I love gaiety. But there's too much death, too much havoc, too many things have happened in front of me. I have gone back more deeply into that darkness. There is a tiny bit of colour that remains, because I think that if there is Life, there is hope."
74. Various shots, art work
75. Various shots, Prince Luc with art work
76. Med shot, Samara drawing
STORYLINE
SOUNDBITE (Creole) Prince Luc, artist, Haiti:
"It doesn't come into my head to do something that I see, or something realistic. Most of all, I prefer impressionistic, surreal, a bit naive."

Since he was 10, Prince Luc has known that he was born to paint. Now, at 33, he's one of Haiti's up-coming artists, living and working in Jacmel. This French-colonial city by the Caribbean dates back to the 17th century. Long-favoured by Haitian artists, the city's carnival has always been a highlight, when its legendary artworks take to the streets.

But in this year's carnival, all that changed. Prayers for the dead filled the air, rather than dance music.

The massive earthquake one month earlier left Haiti and its people in tatters. It also left unseen devastation to the spirit of Haiti's artists.

Haitian art and culture has always been seen as a symbol of hope. The joyful, vibrant paintings that fetch thousands of dollars in the United States and Europe were the country's greatest source of foreign currency. But, for many Haitian artists, the earthquake changed their lives beyond all recognition.

Prince Luc, single parent to 2-year-old Samara, was one of them. On the day of the earthquake, he had been working in his studio at Jacmel's Art Centre, once a thriving hub of local artists. He left early and went home. And just after he arrived, it happened.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Prince Luc, artist, Haiti:
"You could hear a noise, but you didn't know where this noise was coming from."

He grabbed Samara and ran, as their house collapsed around them.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Prince Luc, artist, Haiti:
"Everybody, instead of staying standing up, threw themselves on the ground. But we didn't know if the ground was gong to open up if we were going to fall inside. We didn't know anything."

In those 35 catastrophic seconds, most of the house Prince Luc had spent years building, fell before his eyes. Beneath the rubble of his studio, he also lost almost all his paintings. But he considers himself one of the lucky ones.

With an estimated 300,000 people were killed across Haiti in those fateful moments, and millions were left homeless in one of the largest humanitarian disasters the world has ever seen. Prince Luc and Samara were indeed lucky.

But while their lives were spared, the future of Haitian art lies in the balance. Much of Haiti's precious art work, symbols of Haitian culture and the people's identity, were lost in those seconds when the earth heaved.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Patrick Vilaire, sculptor, Haiti:
"This museum houses all the artistic legacy of the grand period of Haitian painting."

Patrick Vilaire, a well-known sculptor, together with art dealer, Axelle Liautaud, sift through the wreckage of the Musee College du Saint Pierre. It once housed one of the most important collections of Haitian art in the country.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Patrick Vilaire, sculptor, Haiti:
"This collection here is where you find all the works of the Masters of Haitian painting, the great artistic movement that was born in 1945. I came here today, after the earthquake, to try and save the collection, because it's in danger!"

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Patrick Vilaire, sculptor, Haiti:
"It's a painting by a Haitian artist who lives in France."

It's not only the danger from thieves who have already helped themselves to some of the pieces, but the damage to the building itself leaves the masterpieces open to the rains.

But for many of Haiti's artworks, it is already too late. As well as priceless pieces lost in the rubble, many of the culturally-important buildings themselves are now reduced to piles of debris taking unique murals with them.

These buildings, almost 80 percent of which are irreparably damaged, are another important part of Haiti's cultural patrimony.

SOUNDBITE (English) Teeluck Bhuwanee, UNESCO, Haiti:
"Economically, culture can save this country because it has an enormous amount of talent in all ways."

Teeluck Bhuwanee is Haiti's Representative of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.

SOUNDBITE (English) Teeluck Bhuwanee, UNESCO, Haiti:
"If this country can rebuild itself it's going to do it on its culture and it's going to do it on its artisans."

Some of the oldest and most culturally significant buildings are the churches and seminaries, most of which are now in ruins.

SOUNDBITE (English) Teeluck Bhuwanee, UNESCO, Haiti:
"Churches are very important. They have a very strong symbolic and cultural value for the people. This is where people meet and get together and sing and that is the basic identity of the country."

And for many artists, as well as losing their works, their studios and their cultural artefacts, the earthquake struck hardest at their very identity.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Prince Luc, artist, Haiti:
"After the earthquake, I didn't really know who I was anymore. I am now praying to my 'genie.'"

His 'genie' or his artistic muse, is sometimes a Christian saint and sometimes a spirit from voodoo ceremonies. Like many Haitians, his identity is deeply influenced by both.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Prince Luc, artist, Haiti:
"Our culture, our strength, it's rather a kind of battle, it's a sharing. I want to go back to our culture, to show it how it is. Sometimes my work is on this voodoo theme."

In Port-au-Prince, artist Nacius Joseph's life and his work are intrinsically influenced by the other side of Haitian culture, Christianity. He thanks divine intervention for having survived the earthquake.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Nacius Joseph, artist, Haiti:
"I was in church attending a service. We felt the movement of the earth.
Jesus, everybody called 'Jesus'. This was the only name, the only sound. By a miracle, God did not let the church fall on us and we came out safely. This is something we can't explain. It was marvellous."

But despite the survival of his entire family, since the earthquake, seventy-one-year-old Nacius has almost lost his spirit to continue working.

He is considered one of the country's foremost wood sculptors and his intricate pieces in cedar and oak grace art galleries and private collections around the world.

A running theme throughout his work is angels.

At this gallery in the up-market district of Petionville, which remained relatively unscathed in the earthquake, gallery owner and patron of the arts, Axelle Liautaud, encourages him to go back to work.

But although this gallery survived, the market for artworks didn't, leaving Nacius without an income. Since the earthquake destroyed his home, Nacius and his family have been living in squalid conditions in a makeshift camp.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Nacius Joseph, artist, Haiti:
"My house is cracked. We can't sleep in it. That's why we are behind here."

Nacius, his wife and two of his five children, now live alongside an estimated 1,500 others in this camp alone, in a similar plight.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Nacius Joseph, artist, Haiti:
"There is nothing, no food, completely bare. We are still alive but we have no means."

Meanwhile, Prince Luc, the painter, believes that creativity is an important part of the country's healing process.

Several days a week, he volunteers at the Art Creation Foundation for Children in Jacmel, which provides both a refuge and a diversion for poor children traumatized by the earthquake.

As well as learning a useful skill for the future, they also now have an outlet to express what they went through.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Prince Luc, artist, Haiti:
"We should demonstrate what we have experienced, and that's why they're working on the walls - with their impressions, their feelings, with their fear. When you go inside the building, you see that they're beginning to be inspired."

Prince Luc too is struggling to comprehend the catastrophe through his art and is finding a new style.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Prince Luc, artist, Haiti:
"Before, I preferred the colours that spoke of Life, that have more elements that are more joyful, because I love gaiety. But there's too much death, too much havoc, too many things have happened in front of me. I have gone back more deeply into that darkness. There is a tiny bit of colour that remains, because I think that if there is Life, there is hope."
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