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Out & About: Learn about Haiti during painting, poetry event

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    Artist Patrick Noze will teach participants how to create a painting of the famed Citidel in Haiti during a July 29 event titled "Painting, Poetry & People Power: A Haitian Experience in Creativity and Spirit." (Photograph courtesy of Jeff Rogers) Photograph courtesy of Jeff Rogers

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/21/2021 9:34:33 PM
Modified: 7/21/2021 9:34:40 PM

WINDSOR — Though it’s in the headlines now because of the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise, Haiti has a rich tradition of art and community.

“Haiti often is in the news when there are terrible events and are often covered because of the poverty, but it’s important to know that there’s a deep culture and tradition of how people come together to organize,” said Jeff Rogers, an artist who has worked with Beyond Borders, a nonprofit organization that works with Haitians to end child slavery, promote universal education and help families living in extreme poverty provide for themselves.

“There’s a lot that Haiti can teach us about how to be neighbors, how to participate in each other’s lives in the community, how to lift one another.”

With that in mind, Rogers, who is a member of Black Lives Matter Windsor, Vermont, has worked to put together a virtual event titled “Painting, Poetry & People Power: A Haitian Experience in Creativity and Spirit,” that takes place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on July 29.

Patrick Noze, a Haitian artist based in Orlando, Fla., will lead participants in painting a picture of Haiti’s famed Citadel, a mountaintop fortress built in the early 19th century; poet and spoken word performer Marcus Ellsworth, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., will perform his works; and a representative from Beyond Borders will discuss the organization’s work.

The event is co-sponsored by the Windsor Public Library. While it is free to attend, participants must purchase their own supplies, which totals around $40. Scholarships are available. People can register for the event on Facebook by typing in “Painting, Poetry & People Power: A Haitian Experience in Creativity and Spirit,” where they can also find a supply list.

They can also email Rogers at tiboutjeff@gmail.com.

Participants may also use any materials they have on hand, or can participate in the event without painting. Teenagers are welcome and Rogers is encouraging people who live near each other to participate in person together.

No artistic talent is needed: Noze recently did a run through with three people who have never painted before.

“All three came out with beautiful, beautiful paintings,” Rogers said. “They were very pleased.”

Rogers described Noze as an impressionist-style painter who layers wet paint in his works. This will allow people to complete their painting in about an hour.

“Patrick ... is extremely entertaining,” Rogers said, comparing him to Bob Ross. “He will break into song. It’ll be a very fun event.”

The event will begin with a “land acknowledgment,” recognizing that Windsor, Chattanooga and Orlando were all once home to vibrant Native American tribes who lived there for thousands of years before settlers pushed them out.

Rogers will also give a brief overview of the history of Haiti, including the decimation of the Taino culture after the arrival of Christopher Columbus, Haitians’ fight for independence more than 200 years ago and what is happening in the country now.

“The net effect for everyday people is an already difficult life, where I believe at least 70% of people live on $2 a day to begin with, and when there’s instability like this, it makes a difficult life even more difficult,” Rogers said, referring to the assassination.

“Haiti just desperately needs some stability.”

Ellsworth will read works he wrote during his time in Haiti. He, Noze and Rogers have all worked with Beyond Borders.

“It flows very organically,” Rogers said. “People can keep working on their paintings while something else is going on in the background as well.”

While some of the subject matter may be weighty, the evening is meant to help people learn a new skill, find community and gain knowledge about a country that is frequently misunderstood.

“I hope that people learn more about their own creative abilities and our interconnectedness in the world,” Rogers said.

“That our lives and the lives of the people in Haiti, the lives of Indigenous people there and the lives of Black and Brown folks here are all tied together and absolutely inseparable. We all have so much to gain and learn from one another.”

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Editor’s note: Rogers recommends the following books for learning more about Haiti: After Shock, Kent Annan; To Fool the Rain, Haiti’s Poor and Their Pathway to a better Life, Steven Werlin; Haiti: The Aftershocks of History, Laurent Dubois; Eyes of the Heart: Seeking A Path For the Poor in the Age of Globalization, Jean Bertrand Aristide; Restavec: From Haitian Slave Child to Middle-Class American, Jean-Robert Cade; Brother, I’m Dying, Edwidge Danticat; The Uses of Haiti, Paul Farmer; In the Parish of the Poor: Writings from Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide; The Comedians, Graham Greene; and Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder.

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Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.




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