Arts + Culture

‘Divine Revolution: The Art of Edouard Duval-Carrié’ Opens at the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History Oct. 10

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Jan. 1, 2004, marked the 200th anniversary of Haitianindependence wrought by the revolutionary leader Toussaint Louverture, andproclaimed by General Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the first president of the"Black Republic," as Haiti is often called. To celebrate the occasion, thegovernment of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti's first democratically electedpresident, asked painter and sculptor Edouard Duval-Carri to create anexhibition in the heart of Port-au-Prince, the nation's capital.

Born in Port-au-Prince in 1954 and trained at the EcoleNationale Suprieure des Beaux‑Arts in Paris, Duval-Carri makes his artin a studio in the "Little Haiti" district of Miami. He has lived in PuertoRico and Canada and traveled to the Republic of Benin in West Africa, ancestralhome of the divinities of Vodou (a religion and way of life in Haiti). His workin various media celebrates these divinities (lwa) and their role in the history of his country, especially theevents of 1804. Though political upheaval interrupted the bicentennialexhibition in Port-au-Prince of Duval-Carri's work, he has recreated much ofit and added to it for the UCLA FowlerMuseum of Cultural History exhibition "Divine Revolution: The Art of EdouardDuval-Carri," from Oct. 10, 2004, through Jan. 30, 2005.

Duval-Carri's art reflects a mlange of African, Europeanand Caribbean influences, and encompasses multiple aspects of the Haitianexperience, from religion to history to politics. His works emphasize migrationwhile celebrating the Haitian spirit and the durability and modernity of theHaitian Vodou gods.

The first section of "Divine Revolution" is devoted tosequined and beaded flags based on the artist's paintings of revolutionarythemes, in the tradition of the shimmering banners known as drapo that are presented at thebeginning of Vodou ceremonies to salute the spirits. These new Duval-Carriworks — commissioned from the atelier of one of the best known of Haitian flagmakers, Jean-Louis Edgar — duplicate the earlier set of flags that Duval-Carri had made at the request of the Haitian government for the bicentennialcelebration in Port-au-Prince. His flags embody themes and an aesthetic similarto that of the ritual drapo, whilespeaking in a distinctly postmodern idiom.

The second and most extensive section of the exhibitionfeatures large-scale paintings by the artist, including three related worksentitled "Migration Trilogy" anexquisite group of paintings from Miami's Bass Museum of Art describing themythological trajectories of the lwa — andseveral more recent paintings that address contemporary political events. Manyof the paintings are mounted in the artist's intricately handmade frames, whichcontribute to the meaning system of the works through their rich and sometimesenigmatic iconography.

The final section of the exhibition is dedicated to a newinstallation in the form of a luminous resin altar, and signals the rebirth ofthe lwa in their new diasporicsettings.

Duval-Carri's work has been included in numerous museumexhibitions, including solo exhibitions at the Phoenix Art Museum (2002–03) andthe Miami Art Museum (2000). His work is represented in the collections of theDavenport Museum of Art, Davenport, Iowa; Miami Art Museum; Musee des ArtAfricains et Oceaniens, Paris; and Musee de Pantheon National Haitien,Port-au-Prince, among many others.

"Divine Revolution" is guest curated by Donald J. Cosentino,a scholar of Haitian art and professor in UCLA's department of world arts andcultures, who curated the Fowler's acclaimed "Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou"exhibition in 1995.

Funding for "Divine Revolution" and the accompanyingpublication has been provided in part by the Cultural Services of the FrenchEmbassy in Los Angeles; the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance, Miami; the RickyWilliams Foundation; and David Wallack and Mango's Tropical Caf. Supportprovided by Rhum Barbancourt.

A lavishly illustrated, 68-page paperback book entitled"Divine Revolution: The Art of Edouard Duval-Carri" by Donald J. Cosentino will be published by the Fowler Museum inSeptember.

In conjunction with this exhibition, the Fowler isexhibiting a selection of approximately 40 drapofrom the museum's extensive collection of these ritual flags, made of satin,velvet or rayon, and lavishly adorned with sequins, beads or appliqu. The exhibition, entitled "Saluting VodouSpirits: Haitian Flags From the Fowler Collection," includes works fromthe early 1900s to the 1990s, as well as five newly commissioned beaded flagsby women artists, who have only recently begun to work in this medium. These drapo are on display in theFowler's Goldenberg Galleria from Aug. 8 through Dec. 12.

Fall 2004 marks the onset of the Year of the Arts at UCLA,celebrating UCLA's position as the University of California's flagship campusfor the arts, and as a national center for artistic research, public artspresentation and the training of young artists, scholars and teachers. The Yearof the Arts at UCLA is bookended by the opening of two major arts facilities onthe Westwood campus. Newly renovated Glorya Kaufman Hall, featuringstate-of-the-art facilities for dance, videography and cross-culturalinvestigation in the arts, opens adjacent to the Fowler in fall 2004. The yearculminates in fall 2005 with the opening of the Edythe L. and Eli Broad Center,which will feature exceptional visual arts exhibitions and the unveiling of amonumental sculpture by Richard Serra. Surrounding these two events, UCLA willpresent a series of interdisciplinary events in the visual and performing arts,including exhibitions, concerts and symposia organized by UCLA's arts leaders,including the Fowler Museum.

The Fowler Museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays, noonto 5 p.m., and on Thursdays, noon until 8 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays andTuesdays. The Fowler Museum, part of UCLA's School of the Arts andArchitecture, is located in the north part of the UCLA campus. Admission isfree. Campus parking is available for $7 in Lot 4. For more information, thepublic may call (310) 825-4361 or visit www.fowler.ucla.edu.

Related Programs:

4:30–5:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 9

A conversation withEdouard Duval-Carri

Edouard Duval-Carri and guest curator Donald J. Cosentino discuss art and politics incontemporary Haiti and the United States. A members' preview party follows;call (310) 206‑0306 for information on joining.

Noon-5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 10

Opening day: "DivineRevolution: The Art of Edouard Duval-Carri"

Noon-5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 17

Family Festival:Caribbean!

Join performers and artists for a Caribbean-style afternoon,including marimba, reggae and steel drum music, and art-making activitiesinspired by selected Caribbean cultures.

1–4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 6

A "World of Art FamilyWorkshop": Pound Away!

Using techniques of repoussand simple hammering, create Haitian-inspired creatures and designs out ofmetal sheeting and then mold them into an ornate picture frame. Free formembers; $5 material fee for non-members. Reservations required: (310)825-8655.

2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 14

Haitian Mass

Singers and musicians will perform a 30-minute mass byHaitian composer Werner Jaegerhuber in the Davis Courtyard, followed by awalkthrough of the Haitian flags (drapo)on display in the Goldenberg Galleria. Space is limited; reservations required:(310) 825-8655.

Unless otherwise noted, events are free and no reservationsare required. The event information and reservation line is (310) 825-8655.

-UCLA-

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