Portraits for self-determining Haiti

Portraits for self-determining Haiti
Regine Romain

Régine Romain photographs and researches Haiti’s shifting yet distinct presence throughout the world in an ongoing visual diaspora project. Her work is grounded in individual and community portraiture. This exhibition bridges two compelling views: Romain, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, as the composer of portraits on Haitian life rarely seen, and the reality of Haiti as a self-determining nation – a principle historically rooted in the people’s DNA as resurgent hope.

Portraits for Self Determining Haiti is an exhibition of vibrant photographs of Haiti, three weeks after the 7.0 earthquake that killed more than half a million people. Elemental themes of faith, dignity, honor and respect are keenly displayed.

The title is inspired by a series of essays published by The Nation in 1920 entitled “Self-Determining Haiti” written by James Weldon Johnson, a journalist, lyricist, and renowned civil rights leader of Haitian heritage.

In Ways of Seeing, John Berger states “…every image embodies a way of seeing, our perception or appreciation of an image depends also upon our own way of seeing.” The world psyche is awash in distorted narratives of Haitian people and society, and Romain’s acts of visual resistance stoke the collective imagination and keep new ways of seeing alive.

Romain’s photo essay on Haiti, including photos from Portraits for Self Determining Haiti, is featured in Meridians, Vol 11, December 2011, a journal published by Smith College. Romain’s work has been exhibited at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NY; Teatro Nacional de Cuba, Cuba; UN Photography Society, NY; and the Charles Sumner Museum, DC. Her awards include Brooklyn Arts Council and the Trude Lash Fellowship. She is the editor of Diaspora Diaries: An Educators Guide to MoCADA Artists, and is the founder of Urban PhotoPoets and the Brooklyn Photo Salon. Romain received a BS from Bowie State University and an MA in Photography & Urban Culture from Goldsmiths, University of London.

As an A.I.R. Fellow, Romain will present a community workshop with the Haiti Cultural Exchange commemorating the Haitian Declaration of Independence, January 10, 2012, and an An n’ Pale| Café Conversation, January 12, 2012, at Five Myles Gallery in Brooklyn, New York from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

A.I.R. Gallery is located at 111 Front Street, #228 in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn. Gallery hours: Wed. – Sun., 11am to 6pm. For directions please visit www.airgallery.org. For more information please contact Gallery Director, Julie Lohnes at 212-255-6651 or [email protected].

January 5 – 28, 2012

Opening Reception: Thursday, Jan. 5, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Artist Talk: Thursday, Jan. 5, 6:30 pm