[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

29689: Hermantin(News)Innovative Haitian painter Garoute (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Innovative Haitian painter Garoute

By Candice Russell
Special to the Sun-Sentinel

December 17, 2006

Haitian-born artist and educator Jean Claude Garoute, known to the art world as "Tiga," died Thursday of liver cancer in a Fort Lauderdale hospice.

Before his death at age 71, four days after his birthday, Tiga hosted a steady stream of visitors to his bedside, including artists such as Patrick Gerald Wah, who traveled from New York to see him. A televised tribute aired on New York television last weekend and was seen by the ailing Tiga, friends said.

Another visitor was Levoy Exil, a painter in the Saint Soleil movement, known as the avant-garde of Haitian popular art. This movement was started by Tiga in 1972 in Soisson la Montagne with five core artists: Exil, Prospere Pierre Louis, Louisiane Saint Fleurant, Dieuseul Paul and Denis Smith. Only Exil and Smith are still alive.

Saint Soleil paintings are characterized by explosive color, semi-abstract figures, doves as symbols of peace, and women as the source of creation. Connected to the dominant Haitian religion of Vodou, or Voodoo, as it often is spelled, Saint Soleil also connects to a larger sense of sacredness, according to the writing of Tiga, who based it on four key words -- dream, possession, creation and madness.

In visiting from his Thomasaint, Haiti, home, Exil expressed gratefulness to Tiga for giving him the freedom and education that changed his life.

"My relationship with Tiga is very spiritual," Exil said after visiting him in the hospice. "He gave me three brushes and told me to do anything I felt like doing. President (Rene) Preval has great regard for Tiga and inquired after his health. He sees him as an icon or master of Haitian art."

Carnival in Haiti next February will be dedicated to Tiga and the Saint Soleil movement. Exil and Smith are working on the floats for the parades in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel, as well as their costumes. Tiga's daughter Pascal Garoute will lead the parade.

French writer Andre Malraux became impressed with Saint Soleil during a 1976 visit to Haiti and wrote in the book L'Intemporel about the movement as "the most striking and only controllable experiment in the magic world of painting in our century."

Haitian art collector Reynolds Rolles of Plantation said, "His Saint Soleil movement put Haitian art on the map internationally and made art lovers see differently things they never saw before."

Tiga's art was featured in a benefit for the ACTION Foundation, a Broward-based nonprofit organization promoting Creole art and culture, several years ago.

"The contribution of Tiga is immense not only at the level of visual art but at the level of culture," said Eric Boucicaut, the foundation's president. "He had a theory of artistic rotation, which entailed the use of many different media almost simultaneously. It worked with adults as well as young children and the mentally challenged who were his students."

Susan Karten, an American clothing designer and Boca Raton resident, studied art with Tiga years ago when she lived in Haiti.

"He was very intense in a quiet way," she said. "He only let us use three colors -- red, yellow and blue -- because he said from those you can make anything."

Funeral arrangements for Tiga are pending in Haiti.

Copyright  2006, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

WIN up to $10,000 in cash or prizes enter the Microsoft Office Live Sweepstakes http://clk.atdmt.com/MRT/go/aub0050001581mrt/direct/01/