Yesterday, I went to Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). This was my first time at this museum so I was excited for what was in store. I had a private tour with a small group of young professionals. I had on heels the entire day, so I opted for some flats since I would be walking around a museum for an hour or so. Of course when I got there the professionals were still wearing their heels – Ha! But whatever, I was there and I was comfortable.
The exhibition I toured was the, Caribbean: Crossroads of the World. It highlights over two centuries of rarely seen works—from paintings and sculptures to prints, photographs, installations, films, and videos—dating from the Haitian Revolution to the present.
I was so excited about this tour because I love Caribbean history and art. I couldn’t take any pictures of any of the works in the exhibition because they were borrowed but I did take some pictures of getting to the museum and pre-tour conversations, please see below.
The exhibition has 5 prints from Jacob Lawrence (famous artist from Harlem Renaissance) in which he pays homage to the the second revolution in the western hemisphere and the first successful slave revolt in history – The Haitian Revolution. Lawrence was brilliant, at 21 he completed the forty-one panel Toussaint L’Ouverture series in 1938. One of the prints was of course, number 20 in the series of paintings:
The exhibition is at PAMM until August 17, so if you are in Miami, go see it.
After the tour which was about an hour and so friggin wonderful I watched 2 films.
The Last Builder (2008) by Humberto Vélez, This is a short film that creates a connection between the last body builder, Dionisio Herrera Gonzalez (aka Jose) brought from Jamaica to Panama and the Panama Canal. It’s a 5 minute, silent film, in black and white. And Jose is 70 years old at the time of this film #dayum
The next film was Sugar Cane Alley (1983), directed by Euzhan Palcy. It is set in Martinique in the 1930s and it explores the life and adventures of a young boy, Jose from a shanty-town who wins a partial scholarship to attend high school in the capital. It was a great film. It is in French, so subtitles are provided but you never get the full picture when translating. There is so much more meaning in the native tongue than a translation could ever do, so I laughed a bit harder at some points because I understood the culture of the colonized. But it was so amazing to see how the colonized in Martinique are so culturally similar to the colonized in Haiti. In a part of the film, Jose’s grandmother disciplines him by having him mete ou ajenou (get on your knees) and I chuckled because my parents would do that to us. For some reason I thought this was something Haitian people only did but little did I know. I love meeting people from the diaspora and finding those things that really connects us. This film will make you laugh, cry (and I cried several times), smile, and want to start a protest. It was great!
Fortunately for me I was able to watch them on the last day of the screening – so glad I made it.