“Over a thousand and one nights, Scheherazade told the King stories and he fell in love with her.”
Ah! Whether Arabian or Haitian, women are magicians weaving stories of old to delight the young, the young at heart and everyone else. A festival of Haitian culture that included such storytelling took place on Saturday, October 16th 2010 at Affirmation Arts Gallery. Affirmation Arts and Haiti Cultural Exchange invited the community to experience and celebrate the rich cultural of Haiti at SELEBRASYON!, a free all-day festival that brought the sights and sounds of Haiti to Manhattan’s west side.
An event for all ages, SELEBRASYON! revolved around “SAVING GRACE: A celebration of Haitian Art”. and exhibition that consists of more than 50 artworks, including sculpture, paintings, and works on paper – some of which have never been seen outside of Haiti. The exhibit includes two pieces that were recovered and restored from the January 12, 2010 earthquake.
This incredible all day Festival included Haitian Jazz Bands : Markus Schwartz and Lakou Brooklyn, as well as Buyu Ambroise & The Blues in Red Band, featuring soulful jazz singer Melanie Charles. There were artist workshops for children, conducted by Haitian artists Cybil Charlier, Klode Garoute, Shakespeare Guirand and Gracie Xavier, and “Krik: Krak!” storytelling sessions with poets and spoken word performers Jennifer Celestin and Michèle Voltaire Marcelin.
Dance was also on the menu with performances by Goussy Celestin, Nadia Dieudonne & Feet of Rhythm, and Jessica St. Vil Ulysse & KaNu Dance Theater. The 7th art was not forgotten as there were screenings of the film“Maestro Issa,” a 52-minute documentary by Frantz Voltaire, tracing the evolution of Haitian music in the 1930′s and 1940′s through the career of a Haitian musician of Lebanese origin: Issa El Saieh. Finally, there were gallery tours conducted by Gérald Alexis, curator of the “Saving Grace” exhibit and Affirmation Arts director Marla Goldwasser.
To see photographs of the event, click on this link: