In September 2015, SCEH presented a series of lectures about Haiti at the Essex Town Hall.
A SERIES OF TALKS SPONSORED BY SISTER CITIES ESSEX HAITI
Haiti: Stories of Early Days to Present
Bob Lamothe, Sister Cities Essex Haiti board member, who came to the US at the age of 12, is a graduate of Yale University and also holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture at Columbia University. He is a Professor at Norwalk Community College and also teaches Kreyol at Yale. Bob presented “The History of Haiti: Early Days to Present”, which will combined interesting insights on both historical and more recent history.
Literature of Haiti: Historical Influences Past and Present
Patrick Sylvain is a poet, writer, translator, and academic. He is a faculty member at Brown University’s Center for Language Studies. Patrick spoke about the history and influences on Haitian literature and focused most recently on literature of Haitian writers, both those living in Haiti and abroad. Mr. Sylvain has taught as a lecturer at Harvard, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Tufts University and University of Massachusetts. He is published in several anthologies, academic journals, books, magazines and reviews. He has been featured in: PBS’s NewsHour, NPR’s Here & Now and The Story, he was also a contributing editor to the Boston Haitian Reporter. Sylvain’s academic essays are anthologized in several edited collections, including: “The Idea of Haiti: Rethinking Crisis and Development,” and “Politics and Power in Haiti”. Sylvain graduated from Harvard University Graduate School of Education as a Conant Fellow where he received his ED.M; and also holds an MFA from Boston University where he was a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow.
Art of Haiti & Recent Restoration Efforts
Erica Moiah James, Assistant Professor in the History of Art and of African American Studies at Yale University; Mark Aronson, Chief Conservator of Art at Yale Center for British Art; and Matthew Cushman, Haitian Project Conservator at Yale’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage spoke about the visual art of Haiti, including the restoration efforts that began in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, and subsequent work at Yale University directed at the preservation of a suite of nineteenth century Haitian portraits. The Rigaud portraits, a collection at the Yale Peabody Museum which depicts the early leaders of Haiti, have become the subject of an institutional and international collaborative project, bringing Haitian conservators, first involved with the Smithsonian Institution’s Cultural Recovery Project in Port-au-Prince, to New Haven for further training in Yale’s conservation laboratories. Come hear about a general overview of Haitian art and more recent work restoring portraits of Haitian Presidents which provide opportunities for Haitian restorers to work with the conservators at Yale to advance their skills.
Birds of Haiti and Connecticut –Migrators and Locals
Bob Lamothe, Sister Cities Essex Haiti Board member and Professor, is an avid photographer and ornithologist. His interest in birds began as a youngster. He was fascinated by their communication skills; different calls for different reasons. At a young age he realized roosters would give a specific warning signal to the hens to take shelter when a hawk appeared overhead. That led Bob to deeper observations of all sorts of birds in Haiti. He continued that interest when he moved to CT and focused and honed much of his photographic skills on birds and their activities. He found that many of the birds he knew in Haiti were here in CT as well, either as permanent residents of both areas or as migrating birds. He has a vast collection of photos of birds that are unique to each area. Bob’s passion for ornithology and photography combined to make this an outstanding talk.