Published to celebrate a landmark exhibition—the first major survey of the astonishing artists of Haiti’s capital city—Pòtoprens is at once a portrait of a place, a celebration of its arts, and a visionary re-mapping of culture in the world’s first black republic.
Port-au-Prince is a polyphonic metropolis that declares its past via multiple voices. In this volume, the city’s complex present is evoked through artworks, images, testimonies, and essays. These contents are organized, as was the exhibition, around distinct zones of artistic production—urban neighborhoods identified with particular subjects, materials, and forms. Focusing on these areas’ exemplary artists, the book mirrors the geography of the city.
Contextualized by leading writers on Caribbean history and culture, these artists’ stories are situated within Port-au-Prince’s rich heritage of “majority class art.” As cities everywhere grow ever-more critical to our changing global environment, acting as both catalysts and warning signs for cultural, social, political, economic transitions of all kinds, this book articulates urban Haiti’s unbroken link with its revolutionary past. It also issues an insistent call to relocate that past, and the vital forms of expressive culture its echoes still feed, within the contemporary record.
Printed in both English and Haitian Kreyòl, Pòtoprens is a map-like reflection of the urban landscape and a new geography of popular production. With an introduction by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, Pòtoprens includes essays by Leah Gordon, Edouard Duval-Carrié, and Gina Athena Ulysse, and features Katelyne Alexis, Myrlande Constant, Ronald Edmond, André Eugène, Richard Fleming, Celeur Jean Hérard, Guyodo (Frantz Jacques), Bleus Karim, Michel Lafleur, Dubréus Lhérisson, Ti Pelin (Jean Salomon Horace), Evel Romain, Jean Claude Saintilus, and Yves Telemaque.