(Kehinde Wiley, Venus at Paphos (The World Stage: Haiti), 2014)
Modern master of classical portraiture Kehinde Wiley often travels all over the world, choosing locals to be the muses in his beautiful, images. Wiley has painted the people of Brazil, Senegal, Jamaica and much more. His latest project, “The World Stage: Haiti”, took him to Haiti, where he held a “beauty” pageant of sorts in Jacmel, Port-au-Prince, and Jalousieto select his subjects. “Winners” of the pageant were chosen at random.
(Kehinde Wiley, Portrait of Sophia Camy (The World Stage: Haiti), 2014.)
Visual aspects of Haitian art and culture are artfully woven into each portrait, according to a press release,
Haiti’s colonial past figures strongly in Wiley’s current body of work. He draws from the art history of Spanish and French colonizing powers, summoning parallels across time and geography. Likewise, Haiti’s rich and varied religious traditions, as well as its traditional crafts and decorative arts, inform Wiley’s modern chronicle of life and culture. The backgrounds of the paintings incorporate images of vegetation found on Haiti such as okra, brought first to the island from Africa, and sugarcane, a food product that was broadly exploited as a cash crop during slavery.
The series, which consists of 12 portraits, is currently on view from now until October 25th at Roberts & Tilton in Culver City, California. In addition to the show, the artist will be creating a limited edition print to be auctioned off. Proceeds from the auction will benefit, Cine Institute, a film school for Haitian youth, based in Jacmel.
(Kehinde Wiley, The Sisters Zénaïde and Charlotte Bonaparte (The World Stage: Haiti), 2014.)
(Kehinde Wiley, Venus Anadyomène (The World Stage: Haiti), 2014.)