Heavenly Haiti

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Award-winning author Edwidge Danticat.

When the 2010 earthquake brought attention to Haiti, which the United Nations Human Development Index calls “the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere,” the Denison community, led by its students, raised more than $15,000 for the relief effort.

“Bon Pa Gaspiyé”

At 7 p.m., on Thursday, Nov. 8, a panel discussion will take place featuring artist-photographer Dr. Andrea Baldeck; Dr. Tracee Laing, founding director of Granville’s own Healing Art Missions (HAM); Keith W. Hare, HAM’s technical consultant for technology, alternative energy, and infrastructure; and Joe Reczek, assistant professor in Denison’s chemistry and biochemistry department.

Titled “Bon Pa Gaspiyé,” (A good thing is not wasted), the panelists, who share a commitment to advancing community health knowledge and social justice in under-developed communities, will rely on personal experience to document nongovernment organization volunteerism in Haiti.

Today, Haiti is still struggling to recover and to improve the quality of life for its population of more than 10 million. And Denison continues to intersect with the island nation, highlighting its story through two exhibitions at the Denison Museum, hosting a visit by one of that country’s most celebrated authors, and even enjoying a special frozen custard flavor at Whit’s, with the proceeds benefitting medical work in Haiti.

Whit’s, located on Broadway in the village center and a top choice for fans of frozen sweet treats, has created a special flavor called “Heavenly Haiti,” a banana custard with coconut and dark chocolate flakes (yum!), which is on sale just for the week of Oct. 22. All the proceeds will benefit Healing Art Missions, a Granville-based medical mission that serves the people of Haiti.

Award-winning Haitian author Edwidge Danticat will read from her latest book “Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work,” at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25. Danticat, the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant in 2009, is one of the few authors to have been nominated for the National Book Award for both fiction and nonfiction works. She was nominated for a short story collection, “Krik? Krak!” and “Brother, I’m Dying,” a nonfiction account of the deaths of her father and her uncle.

The museum hosts two special exhibitions through Saturday, Dec. 8: “Heart of Haiti” and “Resistance and Resiliency in Haitian Art: Selections from the Figge Art Museum.”

The first is a collection of black-and-white photographs by a physician turned photographer, Andrea Baldeck. Baldeck was a volunteer anesthesiologist in Haiti in the 1980s and returned in the in the mid 1990s to travel through Haiti with her camera, where she created a haunting series of portraits. “Each photograph is accompanied by a short Creole proverb,” says museum director Sherry Harlacher. “The adages provide a moving counterpoint to the dignity, charm and beauty of her Haitian subjects.”

The second, a collection of 10 brilliantly colored paintings, explores some of the history of the nation. These works are on loan from Iowa’s Figge Art Museum, one of the oldest collections of Haitian art on the globe.

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