Marcel Duret

Marcel Duret

Monday, 30 January 2017 22:31

Haitian Culture

Various Styles

There is a traditional approach to painting in which artists run the gamut of techniques and styles from impressionism to surrealism, symbolism to neo-expressionism to postmodernism, and so forth. These artists illustrate their designs in the service of a wide range of concerns, whether philosophical, spiritual, emotional, historical, anecdotal, mythical or symbolical. The paintings by Robert Sylvain fall into these categories.

Thursday, 16 July 2015 00:00

Synopsis of Haitian Art

Synopsis of Art by Artists of Haitian Descent in the Diaspora - Part IV

 

One of Haiti’s greatest exports to the world is its beautiful art. To illustrate the four major trends of the Haitian diaspora, as outlined in previous issues of the Tokyo Journal, Haitian art experts Marcel Duret and Fred Thomas take a closer look at the works of specific artists.

Thursday, 16 October 2014 21:10

Synopsis of Haitian Art

Synopsis of Art by Artists of Haitian Descent in the Diaspora –– Part III

By Marcel Duret and Fred Thomas

One of Haiti's greatest exports to the world is its beautiful art. To illustrate the four major trends of the Haitian diaspora as outlined in previous issues of the Tokyo Journal, Haitian art experts Marcel Duret and Fred Thomas cast a closer look on the works of selected artists.

Primitivism

Aside the naive genre, there is primitivism. This encompasses works by artists with formal training but who decide to paint naively and consequently produce works similar to the ones by artists such as Jean Michel Basquiat, Emile Nolde and Jean Dubuffet. Such artists are influenced by the primitive art of indigenous cultures as seen in African masks and artifacts of the so called uncivilized people of other continents. These artists strive to emulate the spontaneity, unsophistication and simplicity of primitive art. They focus mainly on the essential by discarding or neglecting all unnecessary details so that the imagination can be left to complete the work. Blondel Joseph’s paintings and some of Fred Thomas’ newest creations are perfect illustrations of such a tendency.

Tuesday, 03 June 2014 21:50

Léonce of Dame-Marie, Haiti

Léonce of Dame-Marie,Haiti: A True Free Man

Something from the ocean, something from the hills

By Marcel Duret
Co-author: Kettly Mars

It was four o’clock in the morning, pitch black, cool, and we were about one hour early. When our driver turned off the car’s engine, life seemed suspended to the songs of crickets and the spicy smell of mountain vegetation. It was an eerie moment for a city man like me who is intoxicated with artificial noise day and night. Léonce had promised as a farewell gift to end my three-day stay, that he would take me to “Planò” Hills, a few kilometers south of Dame-Marie, to see where the earth and sky become one. We waited in the darkness, using our cell phones when we needed light, talking and sharing the cassava, avocados and bananas that the generous old man had brought.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013 13:34

Synopsis of Haitian Art

Synopsis of Art by Artists of Haitian Descent in the Diaspora –– Part II

By Marcel Duret and Fred Thomas


One of Haiti’s greatest exports to the world is its beautiful art. To illustrate the four major trends of the Haitian diaspora as outlined in the 2013 Summer Issue of the Tokyo Journal, Haitian art experts Marcel Duret and Fred Thomas cast a closer look on the works of a few selected artists.

THE NAIVE VEIN
When looking at a naive painting a most striking element is the raw quality and directness of the composition and design. Everything is kept simple. What you see is what it is about. Lines and colors are combined to convey a clear image where each element appears necessary for the edification and justification of the whole. As few ornaments as possible are used, making the bluntness of expression look even more evident. The lack of artifice and hid- den meanings maximizes the connection between the picture and observers, many of who lose no time trying to decipher some cryptic iconography or unclear symbols that require initiation rites or specific knowledge. This simplicity can baffle onlookers who try so hard to complicate things based on their own bias or collective pool of references, instead of opening up their minds and let- ting themselves become impregnated by the unique visual and emotional experience that a primitive painting can achieve when it is made by someone genuinely awestricken by an inner vision or a natural phenomenon.

This simplicity sometimes appears in the flatness of shapes. It is as if the artists use some type of magnifying glass that enables them to bring forth every element of a scene as though each one is of equal importance. This way nothing is left behind for the benefit of the observer who can see the relevance of every item as it is conceived in the artist’s mind.The idea is not to judge but rather to take everything indiscriminately at face value.

Thursday, 01 August 2013 00:00

Synopsis of Haitian Art

Synopsis of Art by Artists of Haitian Descent in the Diaspora –– Part I

By Marcel Duret and Fred Thomas


ON May 15, 2013, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Dustheads” sold for a record price of US$48.8 million at a Christie’s auction in New York. This made “Dustheads” one of the most expensive pieces of art on earth today. Basquiat’s impact can be seen globally. An example is an exhibition of his work from May 21 to August 10, 2013 at the Gagosian Gallery in Hong Kong. The exhibition attests to Basquiat’s acute global relevance 25 years after his untimely death. Basquiat is without a doubt the king of all artists of Haitian descent. But while he has gained international stardom, many other artists of Haitian descent living in the United States and Canada haven’t enjoyed the publicity that surrounded Basquiat’s life and death. Nevertheless, they are a group of extremely talented artists who have contributed to the vivacity of the art scene in North America.

Tuesday, 07 May 2013 00:00

Chavez and the World

IN October 1999, after only eight months in office, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a state visit to Japan. I had the honor of meeting him at The Foreign Correspondent’s Club in Tokyo after he gave a speech that remains engraved in my memory. He shared with the diplomatic corps and journalists his discussion with the Emperor of Japan who had asked him how a country as rich in natural resources as Venezuela can have 80% of its population living under the poverty line. Chavez confessed that while he welcomed the Emperor’s concern, he was not expecting such a question from him.

The Emperor pinpointed the dilemma Chavez faced all his life: a huge disparity between the rich and the poor. How can it be that Venezuela’s vast natural resources could only benefit the elite? How can such a trend be reversed after plaguing his country for so long? How could anybody convince the country’s privileged class that it is in their interests that the fundamental rights of all Venezuelans are respected? Is it acceptable that foreign companies control 95% of the petroleum reserves of his country?

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 00:00

Haiti's Historical Visit

Haiti President Michel Martelly's historical meeting with His Imperial Majesty the Emperor

千里の道も一歩から
However long the journey, one must take the first step
Quelque Long Que Soit Le Chemin, Il Faut Faire le Premier Pas

One of the cornerstones of our stay in Japan was meeting with Their Majesties the Emperor Akihito and the Empress Michiko. We left their presence instilled with a sense of serenity and great wisdom that will remain forever engraved in our memories and our hearts.

RECENTLY, the Government of Haiti adopted a new dynamic business diplomacy through which we intend to promote a new image of the country worldwide. It is within this context that I accepted the invitation of the Japanese government, to pay a diplomatic visit to Japan in December 2012.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012 00:00

Inspiring Pride in Haitian Identity

Jeanguy Saintus is the recipient of the 2008 Prince Claus Award. The Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development website www.prince- clausfund.org/en/network/jeanguy.html has the following to say about this visionary artist:

Jeanguy Saintus is the recipient of the 2008 Prince Claus Award. The Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development website www.prince- clausfund.org/en/network/jeanguy.html has the following to say about this visionary artist:

Visionary choreographer, dancer and educator, Jeanguy Saintus expresses the rich fusion of Caribbean culture and the contemporary life of his country through the body. He studied anthropology, sociology and languages, taught himself Haitian, classical and modern dance and co-founded Cie Ayikodans, a group that has matured over 20 years,establishing a centre and training programme.

Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00

HAITIAN EXPERT MARCEL DURET

Former Ambassador to Japan from Haiti (1991-2003) Marcel Duret provides political and social commentary from Haiti expressing his unique perspective on Caribbean culture and politics.

A Haitian Perspective


Congratulations President Chavez

THE destiny of Venezuela’s many underprivileged people was on the line during the October 2012 presidential election, and they were able to influence the outcome by voting for incumbent Hugo Chavez. In Haiti, the ever increasing percentage of people living under the poverty level were unaware that things could have got worse for them if Chavez had lost. Haitian people may take to the street to celebrate when the Brazilian national soccer team wins, but there was not even as much as a sigh of relief from the general population when the news came that Chavez had won the election. Is it because they do not know of the invaluable contribution Chavez has been making to Haiti’s state budget? Or is it because so far the money has not reached them or spurred major changes to better their livelihoods? Thanks to the clairvoyance of Rene Preval, Haiti’s former two-term president, Haiti dared to forge a relationship with Chavez.

Staff Continued

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