Haitian artists supported by Agwe Gallery
Manuel Mathieu was born in Haiti on October 9th 1986 to a liberal family, who, immediately recognizing his innate interest in art, encouraged him to pursue a career in the artistic world. Thus, at an early age, mirroring “Bad Art” painting, Manuel began transforming his childhood bedroom into a "Sistine Chapel" of graffiti (ROOM).
Once having completed his high school education, he immigrated to Canada where he earn a BA in Visual & Media Arts from UQAM .
When creating on canvas he considers the frame to be as integral to the piece as the painting itself. As such, he has been known to carve into the borders before attacking the canvas with splatters of bright colours and the occasional other material - most notably a painting made from condoms.
Comfortable creating through various forms of media, Manuel is as much a painter as he is a photographer and video artist. Despite his undeniably unique talent, it is fair to say that his productions resonate the work of Van Gogh, Richter, Mario Benjamin, Francis Bacon,Cremonini and minimalist Sol Le Witt .
Manuel describes his artistic practice as “a desire to create a parallel reality based on what reality means to me. My subject matter is in constant evolution, changes that are fundamentally propelled by a fascination with displacement and timelessness. Consequently, my art epitomizes an oscillation between a loss of control and precisely calculated movement. I don’t believe that my work reflects a type of spirituality, but rather demonstrates a more serious concern with the construction of interesting images, thereby driving me to rework the images until I am satisfied that they have reached their potential.”
Despite his young age, his work has been exhibited throughout the Carribean, in London, Montreal, New York and twice in Miami (Art Basel 2010 and 2011)
Levoy Exil was born in Fermathe, Haiti in 1944. He was a original member, and one of the best-known artists to emerge from the “Saint Soleil” school - an art movement initiated in the early 70’s.Peasants in a mountain community who had never painted before were given art materials in an experiment on spirituality, spontaneity and art. The results were astonishing, leading the French novelist and art historian André Malraux, on a trip to Haiti, to conclude that Voodoo spirits had possessed, and were guiding, the artists in the creation of the paintings. Most of Exil’s works are mystical in nature. He constantly taps the sources of voodoo and looks for his true roots in his own dreams. He believes in reincarnation, is haunted by the story of Atlantis and relates to the memory of the Arawak Indians more strongly than to his African ancestors. His painting style is primitive and dreamlike and employs the Pointillism technique of applying small, distinct dots in a pattern to reveal an image. There are rarely unused portions of the canvas in his works and he draws from African, Haitian and Vodou influences. The artist has participated in many Saint Soleil exhibits including major shows in Rome, Italy; Paris, France; Bonn, Germany; as well as in Haiti and the U.S. He is featured in publications on Haitian Art, including “Haiti Art Naif” and “Where Art is Joy” by Selden Rodman.
Payas was born Pierre Sylvain Augustin in Divette (commune de Petionville) in December 1941. In 1992 he builds a house next to Prosper Pierre Louis, whom he visits very often watching him paint. Never he had thought that he will become a painter himself until he had the premonition that Prosper was working on his last canvas (unachieved) several days before his death in November 1996. Payas is predicator of the Baptist Church of Soissons, a church that fights against the "satanic cult of vodoo". Under the influence of the"spirits" and the "voice" of Prosper coming from the "unknown", Payas begins to paint and in January 97, presents his first design to Tiga. In 1998 he is one of "the 13 New St Soleil" presented at the French Institute in Haiti, and also exhibited in the World Bank in Washington, DC. In the year 2000 after Christ, he is one of the St Soleil artists ehibited at the ,"Musee de la Halle St Pierre". " Haiti: Anges et Demons" in Paris. Says Payas: "It's the spirits who paint when I'm receptive! If I'm not well in my soul I don't touch a brush!" His inspiration comes directly from the Bible, which is why the cross symbolism is omnipresent in his works.
Born in Anse-a-Veau (Haïti) in 1925, Dieudonne Cedor was educated at the College Beaubrun Ardouin. In 1944, he became a cabinetmaker, but seemed more interested in art. He entered at the Centre d' Art in December 1947. He joined the Art Center in 1947, working under the supervision of Rigaud Benoit who taught him the elementary principals of art. The following year served on the Centre's administrative committee, both as a teacher and member of the board of directors. He was elected president of the Haitian Artist Association. In 1950, following a disagreement, many artists led by Rene Exume, Lucien Price, Max Pinchinat and Dieudonne Cedor left the Centre d'Art to create the Foyer des Arts Plastiques. In 1956 he, along with such notable artists as Luckner Lazard and Roland Dorcely, founded the "Galerie Brochette where he stayed until 1962. In 1957, he was named director of the museum of Beaux-Arts of Port-Au-Prince. He accepted the post and resigned 24 hours later. From 1969 to 1976, he worked at Galerie Nader in Port-Au-Prince. He executed a mural for the International Airport of Port-au-Prince in 1967. There was a permanent display of his work at the Museum of Haitian Art at St.Pierre's College in Haiti. Cedor was a professor at the Art School of the University of Haiti. Cedor is considered one of the greatest Haitian artists. He died on September 27, 2010.
Bigaud is one of the historical masters of Haitian Art. He was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in January 1928. At age 18, he met Dewitt Peters and joined the Centre d'Art. In 1950 his painting, "Paradise", won second prize in an international art exhibit in Washington, D.C. and was subsequently purchased for the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York along with works by Gourgue, Philome Obin and Georges Liautaud. In 1951 he was one of the handful of artists chosen to execute the landmark murals in the Episcopal Cathedral of Sainte Trinite . His masterpiece there is "Wedding at Cana". In 1957 Bigaud sank into a deep depression and did not paint again until 1962. Wilson Bigaud struggled with mental illness for two decades. During this time he did lose the compositional style that brought him fame. In 1979, he was tracked down by a French journalist who found him walking through a distant countryside observing all that he saw so that he could spend the evening doing what he loved best, preserving that day’s inspirations to canvass. Some say that he has never regained his early brilliance but there are few artists in Haiti or anywhere else who are as able to communicate the subtleties of their culture with brush on canvas. Wilson Bigaud continues to paint wonderful, humorous paintings in the relative solitude of Petit Goave, a smallish town far from the clamor of Port-au-Prince. He died in March 2010.
Born in Bainet in 1960, he pursued and completed his studies at Ecole Frere Adrien. In 1986, Beauduy changed his life around to painting and sculpture. His wonderfully delicate art style and interest in make-believe worlds, have made him a popular painter. He has exhibited in France and Japan.
Edouard Michelet was born in Haïti on November 5th 1974 into a poor family. He began to draw at the age of seven years in response to his excessive shyness. Edouard Michelet joined in 1991 the Centre d'Art and the Museum of Haitian Art of College Saint Pierre of Port-au-Prince. He sharpens his art under the guidance of Jonas Profile, Leonel Jean Claude Cadet and Scilla. He seeks to reproduce every day’s life in Haiti in a very realistic way.
Edouard Michelet is now part of the new generation of emerging Haitian painters. His works are part of many important art collections around the world. He exposed in 1996, 1998 and 2008 at UNESCO in Paris, Saint Martin (Caribbean Colors Gallery) in New York at the Art Gallery Medalia, Chicago (Gallery Nicole), Germany, where he worked with Ramig Films Production, or the Dantor Gallery in Paris.
Painter, musician and also known for his work on metal, Edgard Brierre began painting in 1973 with Raymond Dorléans. Exiled, he lived long and miserable in Miami. Now deceased, his work, few are exhibited in major art galleries in Haiti.
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Textes : JL Clergue - S.Morel