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MOCA North Miami Celebrates Haitian Heritage Month

In honor of Haitian Heritage Month, celebrated annually during the month of May, the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) will launch a series of activations and educational programs.

“MOCA’s mission is to reflect cultural diversity through our exhibitions and programming,” said MOCA Executive Director Chana Sheldon. “We are proud to offer programs that celebrate the Haitian culture in North Miami and beyond.”

MOCA North Miami’s series of programming that coincides with Haitian Heritage Month includes:

“After the Rain Comes Light: Portraits of Resilience,” by artists Morel Doucet and Stephen Arboite

On display May 1-June 27

The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami is pleased to present After the Rain Comes Light: Portraits of Resilience, a collaborative installation by Morel Doucet and Stephen Arboite. This installation is part of MOCA’s “Art on the Plaza program, a series of temporary public artworks by Miami-based artists installed on MOCA Plaza.

Artists Doucet and Arboite showcase a collaborative work that explores Miami’s historically African American neighborhoods. Highlighting the flora and fauna found in various neighborhoods across Miami-Dade, the work reveals the conflicts of gentrification while celebrating the uniqueness and beauty of the African diaspora. Each of the ten banners were created from an original, mixed media portrait collage, which will be on view in the museum. The silhouettes featured in the portraits are sourced from an open call to North-Miami residents and visitors to share their own portraits and photographs. This installation coincides with Haitian Heritage Month, transforming the plaza into a space for joy and reflection through its bold, vibrant colors.

Doucet is a Miami-based multidisciplinary artist and arts educator that hails from Haiti. He employs ceramics, illustrations, and prints to examine the realities of climate-gentrification, migration, and displacement within the Black diaspora communities. Arboite, of Haitian descent, was born and raised in New York City and now resides in Miami. Arboite's work considers beauty outside of classical aesthetic paradigms and places emphasis on spiritual transformation and evolution of human consciousness.

Green Space Miami, whose mission is to be a catalyst for action through community partnership and collaborations, is the Green Family Foundation’s new art space guided by the foundation’s principles of inclusion, community empowerment and education. Doucet and Arboite are two of the ten awardees of the inaugural Green Space Miami grant.

MOCA’s “Art on the Plaza” program is made possible with major support from the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (NMCRA).

Conversation at MOCA: Morel Doucet and Stephen Arboite

Wednesday, May 19 – 7:00–8:30 p.m.

On May 19, MOCA will host Miami-based, Haitian artists Doucet and Arboite with “Art on the Plaza” Curator Amanda Sanfilippo Long in a virtual conversation via Zoom surrounding their collaborative art project and the background of their special North Miami site-specific “Art on the Plaza” project.

Life and Spirituality in Haitian Art Catalogue

Available starting Thursday, May 27

On May 27, the museum will release “Life and Spirituality in Haitian Art: Selections from the Betty and Isaac Rudman Trust Collection” exhibition catalogue in its MOCA shop for $30. Authored by Dr. Kyrah Malika Daniels, Edouard Duval-Carrié and Dr. Francine Birbragher-Rozencwaig, the catalogue will feature interviews and passages about the exhibition in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole languages.

Curated by Dr. Francine Birbragher-Rozencwaig, the “Life and Spirituality in Haitian Art” exhibition was on view at MOCA North Miami from November 2020 through March 2021. The exhibition brought together a selection of paintings from Haiti created between 1940 and 1970. Featuring works by Hector Hyppolite, Philomé Obin, Rígaud Benoit, Wilson Bigaud, Jacques-Enguérrand Gourgue, and Gérard Valcin, these renowned masters come from the first and second generation of artists associated with Port-au-Prince's Centre d' Art. This exhibition also included some of their contemporaries and pupils, including Ernst Louizor, Célestin Faustin and Adam Leontus.

The works reveal the artists’ diverse artistic styles influenced by strong African roots mixed with American indigenous and European elements. The merging of techniques, methods, and cultures is seen through their work, ushering forth a style that is uniquely and quintessentially Haitian. The paintings explore the Haitian identity through deep, rich, vibrant colored scenes depicting historical figures, tropical flowers and fruits, rural landscapes, and daily activities infused with spirituality and Afro-Caribbean religious symbolism, particularly from a voodoo tradition.

Educational Programs

MOCA North Miami offers free, virtual and monthly educational programming through its miniMakers, Sunday Stories and MOCA Makers programs. During the month of May, the themes will be inspired by Haitian Heritage Month. On May 2 at 11:30 a.m., to celebrate National Haitian Heritage Month, MOCA will read the beautiful story called "Aunt Luce's Talking Paintings,” by Francie Latour and Ken Daley during MOCA’s Sunday Stories, followed by a hands-on art project.

On the first and third Saturday of every month, MOCA’s miniMakers offers artistic fun in English and Spanish for ages 6 and up. On the second and fourth Saturday of every month, Virtual MOCA Makers are adult workshop programs taught by local artists through zoom, where guests will participate in a unique, hands-on interactive art class to discover new techniques or practice their artistic skills. MOCA miniMakers and MOCA Makers are made possible through the support of the NMCRA. For more information about MOCA’s educational programming, visit MOCA’s Facebook page and website.

MOCA North Miami exhibitions and programs are made possible with the continued support of the North Miami Mayor and Council and the City of North Miami, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, and the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.

By ML Staff. Images courtesy of MOCA


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