This selection of ten paintings by Haitian-born artist Frantz Zéphirin (b. 1968, Cap Haïtien), offers a window into the deeply mystical and spiritual nature of Haiti (Ayiti), the land of many mountains. The artist’s delicate, detailed vignettes give viewers the opportunity to wander, for a brief moment, among the loa (Haitian Vodou spirits).
Zéphirin’s paintings document scenes of Haitian spiritual life both materially and metaphysically, a pictorial practice that has a long tradition in Haitian art. He takes that tradition a step further, transforming the spirits into animals. As Zéphirin explains, “Look closely, in every person there is an animal; a monkey, an elephant, a crocodile, a giraffe… I see them in a gesture, an attitude, a character trait, and immediately fix them on the canvas.”
This exhibition was organized by guest curator and artist Tomm El-Saieh (b. 1984, Port-au-Prince, Haiti; lives and works in Miami) in conjunction with the exhibition of his paintings, Tomm El-Saieh: Imaginary City on view at the Clark Art Institute through December 31, along with WCMA Mellon Curatorial Fellows, Jordan Horton, MA ‘23 and Destinee Filmore, MA ‘24.