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May 17, 2024

Spirit & Strength: Modern Art from Haiti

National Gallery of Art, Washington, September 29, 2024–March 9, 2025 

Gérard Valcin, "Papa Zaca"

Gérard Valcin
Papa Zaca, 1969
oil on masonite
height: 77.47 x 52.07 cm (30 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington
From the collection of Beverly and John Fox Sullivan


Foregrounding Haiti’s significance in the African Diaspora as the world’s first Black republic, Spirit & Strength: Modern Art from Haiti offers a survey of some of the most prominent artists to have lived or worked there over the past century. Central to the exhibition are 21 works by modern and contemporary Haitian artists given to the National Gallery by Kay and Roderick Heller and Beverly and John Fox Sullivan. The works on display present a wide range of subjects, from daily life to religious traditions. Featuring paintings by trailblazing Haitian artists like Hector Hyppolite, Rigaud Benoit, and Philomé Obin, Spirit & Strength also includes works by renowned contemporary artists Myrlande Constant and Edouard Duval-Carrié. African American artists like Jacob Lawrence, William Edouard Scott, and Lois Mailou Jones, who looked to Haiti as a source of artistic and political inspiration, appear in conversation with their Haitian peers, demonstrating the remarkable reach of Haitian artistic production across the African Diaspora.

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

The exhibition is curated by Kanitra Fletcher, associate curator of African American and Afro-Diasporic Art, with the assistance of Justin M. Brown, Samuel H. Kress Predoctoral Fellow at the Center.

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