We think of buildings synthetically. Facades and buildings and their organization, their logic, are tied entirely together. You either have the integrity of a building, with all its intelligence and connected ideas, or you don’t. But if you just detach a symbol of what it meant — away from its body, its logic, its intelligence — it feels very empty.
Haitian self-taught artist Sénèque Obin was instrumental in the success of the Cap-Haitien School of Art. The Obin family—Obin, his brother Philome, and his son Othon—have been prominent figures in this organization, which promoted intuitive artists and introduced their paintings and sculptures to the marketplace.
The longstanding history between Haiti and the United States is complex—an uneasy marriage of assistance with and denial of financial aid, humanitarian aid, and political aid. Political turbulence compounded by ecological disasters and social strife keep twenty-first century Haiti, the only nation to witness a successful slave revolt in the eighteenth century, in peril.
Friendship symbolically illustrates Obin’s hope for a mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries, and thus, too, between the different races of the world. This hope for global reconciliation and friendship is shown by the embracing black and white hands and the intertwined multiracial group of figures at the base of the composition. Both Masonic emblems and Vodun icons are employed by Obin (who was a Mason) in this painting; the use of a flag, an eagle, and decorative flower branches occur in objects from both organizations, illustrating the belief that freemasonry and voodoo are historically connected.
October 22: Despite the last post I made where I went on about New Mexican minimalism, there also seems to be a complete lack of this in their landscape design. There tends to be quite a variety of plants, of multiple colors, shapes, and sizes, as noted here on Museum Hill right next to the Museum of Folk Art.
As for the Folk Art Museum - it was cramped and cloying, overly sentimental and specialized. Yes, the new addition is boring but its by DS+R so there will be some LED lights or video screens or transgressive performance space or single surfaces or bad formalism or some other techy knick knacks tacked on - don’t worry, it will all be ok and nothing more.