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Little Haiti

Caribbean connection on full display in Basel exhibits

 
 
Peter London Dance Company dancers will perform at the Little Haiti Cultural Center as part of Art Basel Miami, 2013.
Peter London Dance Company dancers will perform at the Little Haiti Cultural Center as part of Art Basel Miami, 2013.
Gregory F. Reed / Photo Courtesy

pbuteau@MiamiHerald.com

The Caribbean’s influence on the local art scene is the spotlight of new exhibits being featured at the Little Haiti Cultural Center as part of Art Basel.

The Global Caribbean V exhibit, which has a focus on Miami’s contemporary visual arts, will have an opening reception from 10 a.m. to noon Friday at the center, 260 NE 59th Terr. The exhibit will showcase artwork from Miami-based artists who all hail from the Caribbean.

Three other special exhibits also will make their grand unveilings and performances tomorrow.

Florida International University’s Digital Library of the Caribbean’s online exhibit, “Haiti: An Island Luminous” will launch, the “Mapping Arts Project – Miami” will be installed and the Peter London Global Dance Company will put on a performance to “celebrate Miami’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.”

“Miami has become a central place for contemporary art worldwide,” said artist Edouard Duval Carrié, of Global Caribbean V, referring to Art Basel, the annual art fair that takes place in Miami. “Presenting Caribbean artist during the fair would be a good thing because they are seldom seen.”

Some 18 artists from Caribbean countries such as Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad and Guadeloupe will have their work exhibited and all of it is for sale, said Carrié.

Buyers should be prepared to spend a pretty penny. Carrié said prices will range from a few thousand up to $30,000. The exhibit runs through Jan. 24, 2014.

Miami is a melting pot of cultures similar to New York’s past and present, and that idea is a starting point for this edition of the exhibition, said Jorge Gutierrez, coordinator of the Global Caribbean V exhibit. There have been four previous editions.

“This is a discussion of what the Caribbean means for the city of Miami,” Gutierrez said. “And about the definition of Miami in terms of art.”

The Green Family Foundation sponsored the three special exhibits.

“Mapping Arts Project - Miami” came from the mind of artist Lara Stein Pardo, a cultural anthropologist who traces the connection of various types of artists.

Her installation that will be unveiled Friday will feature artists who made an impact in Miami and have a connection to the Caribbean.

“This connection is longstanding and many artists were traveling back and forth,” Pardo said. “The artists I feature in this installation not only traveled but incorporated their experiences in the US and Caribbean in their work.”

The project “shows Miami has been a Mecca for years,” said Kimberly Green, president of the Green Family Foundation. “It’s bringing together not just what’s happening now, but what’s been happening,” she said.

The dance company has influences that span the globe, but again the Caribbean will be the focal point.

“There will be a wide array of cultural expression coming out from the Caribbean,” Peter London said.

Adam Silvia, a historian, created the “Island Luminous” exhibit which will pair rare books, manuscripts, newspapers, and photos with commentary from more than 100 experts at 75 universities around the world. Libraries in Haiti and the US digitized the rare publications and photos.

“Island Luminous is an online resource that will contextualize those sources and they will serve as an introduction to the Caribbean,” Silvia said.

Silvia’s exhibit could be the first of many, according to Brooke Wooldridge, program director for the digital library.

“This exhibit serves as a prototype to understand history,” she said.

Wooldridge said three pieces made the exhibit possible: institutional support from FIU, external support from the foundation and in-kind contribution from the Digital Library of the Caribbean.

“It shows a cooperation element,” Green said.

“Island Luminous” will remain at the cultural center for the next two years as a tool for the community to use, said Mireille Charles, senior program director for the Green Family Foundation.

And this, according to Green, is an example of Art Basel’s year-round support to the community.

“It’s not about a once-a-year festival but what we do year-round,” she said.

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