City of Poets ~ Life and Hope in Jeremie, Haiti

First Provenance Center Photo Exhibit
July 24 through October 17, 2010
   


Mary Snayd
Photograph, 2009

Robert Spitz
Photograph, 2008

 
   
The city of Jeremie is the capital of the Grand Anse region of Haiti, located in the southwestern tip of the island of Hispanola. Founded in 1756 during the time of French colonial rule, Jeremie earned the title of "City of Poets" in honor of its literary and artistic community. In the 1960s, during the Duvalier regime, local opposition prompted the dictatorship to cut Jeremie off from access to the rest of Haiti, and soldiers were sent to suppress political activism, ultimately resulting in the 1964 massacre of local poets and artists believed to be plotting against the government. Today, while Jeremie continues to be isolated from the rest of the country, its culture and spirit remains vibrant and alive despite conditions of extreme poverty, disease and natural disaster. This exhibit of photography and other media seeks to honor this spirit and share a glimpse into the life of Jeremie and its people.
   

Why the City of Poets Exhibit

The inspiration for this exhibit comes from involvement on the part of Nadesha Mijoba and her family with the Haitian Health Foundation based in Norwich, CT. The specific name for the "City of Poets" exhibit came from the airport in Jeremie that at the end of its dirt runway has a building with a sign that reads in French, "Welcome the City of Poets". During the fifties and sixties Jeremie was a haven for artists and writers that unfortunately became targets of the Duvalier regime, with deliberate efforts made to cut it off, both politically and physically, from the rest of the country. Provenance Center exhibit seeks to capture the culture of this isolated third-world city through the photos of Jeremie's vibrant and resilient daily life. The Haitian Health Foundation has been operating health, education, and social development clinics and services for nearly 30 years, serving close to 300,000 people in the Jeremie region. Since the January earthquake, the need was magnified by an influx of more than 150,000 fleeing the devastation of Port-au-Prince. Volunteers working in the Jeremie region with the Haitian Health Foundation took all of the photography for this exhibit.

The photos on display have significant personal meaning to all involved, many being places that are vividly recalled by the photographers and people with whom there are continuing personal relationships. And, with more than a million Haitians still living on the streets and less than five percent of the damage from the earthquake having been cleaned up, these photos are a cause for reflection upon the enormous disparity between our lives and those plagued with so much poverty, disease and misfortune.

 
Robert Spitz
Photograph, 2008
Robert Spitz
Photograph, 2008
     
Kathryn Whitney Lucey
Beautiful Baby
Photograph, 1990
Kathryn Whitney Lucey
Woman Washing Boy
Photograph, 1994
Kathryn Whitney Lucey
Three School Girls
Photograph, 2005
     
 
RT Spitz
Photograph, 2008
RT Spitz
Photograph, 2008
     
 
Mary Snayd
Photograph, 2009
Mary Snayd
Photograph, 2009
     
 

 

   
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