A Haitian Artist on ‘Rewriting History’

Artwork by Fabiola Jean-Louis (Image via BK Reader)

Haitian-born artist Fabiola Jean-Louis, who lives in Brooklyn, currently has an exhibit entitled “Rewriting History: paper gowns and photographs,” on at the DuSable Museum in Chicago. She recently spoke about her art at “Conversations in the Gallery,” presented by the Richard Beavers Gallery in Brooklyn and BK Reader.

Andrea Leonhardt writes in BK Reader:

Jean-Louis’ meteoric rise as an artist began just four and a half years ago, when she began experimenting with conceptional photography – blending science, technology, art and design into magical, fantastic painting-looking photos. She creates life-size, paper gowns (along with paper props) that mimic actual fabric to the point where details such as embroidery, are painstakingly hand-painted onto the paper sculptures and presents them in photography. But why paper?

“As a black woman, I learned to do without,” said Jean-Louis, “to make the best of having nothing sometimes. And fine fabric is expensive. You want to make these amazing, baroque gowns but you need to have the money for that.”

The exhibit in Chicago, which opened in November, “is a photographic essay that mixes garments worn by female European nobility between the 15th–16th centuries with the bodies, histories and stories of black women, celebrating the beauty and pride of her people,” reports BK Reader.

The description of the exhibit at the DuSable Museum website notes that her series of paper gown sculptures “speaks to the shocking treatment of Blacks throughout history and the trauma inflicted on their bodies as juxtaposed with the abstract idea of Black freedom. Simultaneously, the body of work engages with a vision of the future – one of hope, strength, resilience, and beauty.”

Go to BK Reader to find out what Jean-Louis has to say about the regal bearing of her subjects, and what they will “always have.”

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  1. Pingback: – On Haitian Heritage and ‘Rewriting History’

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