Log In

Edouard Duval-Carrié Edit Profile

painter

Eduoard Duval-Carrié is one of a significant group of new' artists coming out of Haiti. Although he is based in Miami and considers himself an immigrant, his w'ork has been influenced by the legacy of many older and traditional Haitian artists. His paintings have a refined style that incorporates many elements of conventional TTaitian art. It also includes political, religious, and ideological connotations within its depictions.

Background

Duval-Carrié, who comes from a large and affluent family, was born in Haiti but left the island with his family during his childhood. He has since lived in Puerto Rico, New York, France, Canada, and Miami.

Education

As a child he studied at the Union School of Port-au-Prince, but he has had a broad range of educational experiences. He has an undergraduate degree from the École Nationale Supériure des Beaux Arts in Paris, and has also studied at Loyola and McGill University in Montreal. When Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected president of Haiti, Duval-Carrié intended to return to the country and become a contributor to the new Haitian society, but he stayed in Miami after Aristide was deposed.

Career

Duval-Carrié did not receive formal artistic training and only began painting when he was a college undergraduate, yet his art reveals a high degree of refinement and sophistication. Although his Work contains some of the primitivism that characterizes Haitian art, it also exhibits a certain iconic complexity. The experience of exile has helped shape complex vision of Haiti that exists in Duval-Carrié's work. His images have mostly Haitian referents, but they also incorporate a larger vision, such as his references to the Africa that come through especially in his sculptures.

Duval-Carrié's paintings tend to the surreal. They also seem to represent, in many ways, the magical realism movement that has influenced literature and film during the latter part of the twentieth century. His work characterizes a movement in Haitian painting beyond modernism, pointing to the postmodern. He portrays those immensurable social and political realities that are so powerful they can only be depicted through a set of magical symbols.

The work of this artist makes powerful political commentaries through his images. Art critics have asserted that his work marks the beginning of a new type of Haitian visual arts, where the painter moves away from the exotic and exaggerated naturalistic representations of their Haitian landscape and becomes adversely critical (Poupeye 1998). He has been branded by the experience of exile and expresses a point of view about the pain, tragedy, exploitation, and political degradation that have permeated his native land. Examples of this are his clownish depictions of Haitian politicians and his disenchantment with authority figures within the Haitian state.

Duval-Carrié had his first major exhibition at Le Centre d' Art in Haiti in 1979. Since then, his art has been exhibited throughout the world. Some of his recent exhibits have taken place at Contemporary Museum of Art in Monterrey, Mexico (1992); Musée du College Saint Pierre in Haiti (1996); and the Nexus Contemporary Art Center in Atlanta, Georgia (1996).

Works

Personality

Religious influence is notable in his paintings. He has incorporated themes of the Haitian Voodoo religion and has contextualized them using modern imagery. His art, somewhat intricate and baroque, brings forth a series of mythological figures that interact with today's world. His work has been influenced by traditional primitive and naturalist Haitian art. The work of Duval-Carrié shifts constantly between the real Haiti and its images and the surreal, those myths and icons of his imagination that he brings to the canvas in the shape of religious imagery and Voodoo. He has said, "We are relatively free of roots and traditions, fundamental elements that we daily try to recreate ourselves through a constant recreation of our myths, values, and aspirations".

As Duval-Carrié explained his artistic motivations for a Miami art gallery:

I have tried to analyze the historical context of the genesis of that partial island nation [Haiti], looked at the strife and suffering that brought the then society of slaves and slave masters to the point of ebullition. I look closely at the savagery on both parts of the struggle, understanding and giving my total sympathy to the downtrodden, not realizing that patterns are easily learned and extremely resilient to alteration... I have scrutinized the successive generations of pathetic leaders and their sordid entourages... But that is politics and an artist should be well cautioned to keep at bay that kind of poetry, which should be resumed as that of futility. So a step further or a level deeper was reached when the fabulous world of spirits, old and new, true and false, real and imagined, made themselves felt at different planes of consciousness. They come under many names, all quite entrancing. “Loas”, “Espirits”, or “Mysteres” all conveying a sense of foreboding inspiring the nebulousness from whence they come.

  • “One art critic has written that "his often fantastic forms or realism possess a liberating force that is a result of a magical universe inspired by the observation of Voodoo".”