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Centre D’Art’s Folk Art CJ-2A

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, Features, Magazine, Old Images • TAGS: .
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1950 photo of the Centre D’Art CJ-2A. This is a snapshot from the US Information Service video shown below.

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Note how much more complex the art looks in this photo than in the video. This is DeWitt Peters with his Centre D’Art CJ-2A. http://www.haitipolicy.org/Vernisage.htm?PHPSESSID=

In 1943, WWII conscientious objector and artist American DeWitt Peters chose to go to Haiti to teach English. After a year, he wrote to the Haiti’s Ministry of Education and suggested he could do more for Haiti by establishing a school of painting. Using some of his own money, along with US State Department and Haitian funds, he helped launch the LE CENTRE D’ART. The goal of the center was to encourage the development of Haiti artists and folk art.

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Image is from Life Magazine circa 1947. This looks different from the other photos. It is possible the jeep was repainted regularly.

To help advertise the Center’s work, Dewitt Peters used his jeep as a rolling mural. As you can imagine, this color jeep must have been quite a sight motoring around Port-au-Prince. Dewitt also used the jeep to deliver art supplies to rural painters. The video below from the United States Information Service shows his jeep from timestamps 5:17 to about 8:00. Too bad it isn’t in color.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Mr1USFY3mY

Many publications credit DeWitt for launching a renaissance in Haitian folk art, however some historians question his overall impact. However, one thing he might have launched is the Tap Tap Buses and Taxis, whose outsides are highly colorful and continue to shuffle riders to this day. Unfortunately, the Centre’ d’Art’s building was completely demolished in the Haitiian Earthquake.

Here are a few links of interest:

  1. http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2000-03-19/news/0003180453_1_tap-tap-pickups-haitians
  2. http://www.haitipolicy.org/Vernisage.htm?PHPSESSID=
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tap_tap
  4. Images of Tap tap vehicles
  5. Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti. Includes references to DeWitt Peters
  6. Life Magazine, August 1, 1947, article titled “Haitian Painting”, pgs 58-61.
  7. http://haiti.si.edu/centre-art.html

Tap Tap Bus — public transportation in Haiti. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
 

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