The Ties that Bind

Bernard Séjourné (1947–1994; born and died Port-au-Prince, Haiti) Asefi (enough daughters), 1975; paint, hardboard Spencer Museum of Art, Mary Lou Vansant Hughes Collection, 2011.0323

Haiti, the United States, and the Art of Ulrick Jean-Pierre in Comparative Perspective

On view at the Spencer Museum of Art September 8, 2018 – January 6, 2019

About the Exhibition:

Haiti and the United States were both impacted by complex encounters among European colonizers, Indigenous populations, and enslaved peoples. These nations share common revolutions for independence and violent but ultimately successful attempts to abolish slavery. The ongoing migration of citizens between Haiti and the United States has led to hybrid forms of architecture, language, food, and religion. To explore these deep historical and cultural connections, the Spencer Museum of Art (SMA) at the University of Kansas hosted the exhibition The Ties that Bind: Haiti, the United States, and the Art of Ulrick Jean-Pierre in Comparative Perspective, which was jointly curated by Dr. Cécile Accilien (KU Associate Professor of African and African-American Studies and Director of the Institute of Haitian Studies) and Dr. Cassandra Mesick Braun (SMA Curator of Global Indigenous Art).

Jean-Pierre’s paintings were juxtaposed with highlights from the Spencer Museum’s extensive collection of influential 20th-century Haitian art, most of which was generously donated by Mary Lou Vansant Hughes in 2011. These pairings stimulated conversations about significant themes that have defined the relationship between Haiti and the United States, including the fight for liberty and freedom, women as leaders, migration, and religion and spirituality. The endurance of these themes ensured that viewers learned about key historical moments and the figures who have defined the United States, as well as issues that continue to impact residents of both nations, including race, equity, gender, immigration and refugee rights, and the freedom of religious expression.

To experience the show online, please visit our virtual exhibition or view the Spencer Museum of Art’s exhibition archive.

The Ties that Bind was supported by the SMA’s Integrated Arts Research Initiative, as well as Jeff and Mary Weinberg, Jedel Family Foundation, Humanities Kansas, the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Department of African and African-American Studies, KU Student Senate, the Hall Center for the Humanities, KU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Kress Foundation Department of Art History, Student Union Activities, the KU Honors Program, the Department of History, the Department of English, and the Department of Visual Art. On view at the Spencer Museum of Art September 8, 2018 – January 6, 2019

Ulrick Jean-Pierre, Marie Laveau

Ulrick Jean-Pierre (born 1955, Rouseaux, Haiti), Marie Laveau (2018), oil, canvas; Museum purchase: Helen Foresman Spencer Art Acquisition Fund, 2019.0001.
Oil painting on canvas by Ulrick Jean-Pierre and Marie Laveau

Adam Leontus, Tropical Bird

Adam Leontus (1928-1981; born and died Port-au-Prince, Haiti); Tropical Bird (circa 1950-1976), oil, hardboard; Mary Lou Vansant Hughes Collection, 2011.0300.
Oil painting on hardboard by Adam Leontus