Accepted Paper:

Protecting Patrimony through Sacred Scholarship: Documenting Haitian Ritual Arts  

Author:

Liesl Picard (Florida International University)

Paper short abstract:

I discuss how a digital archive documents and preserves the sacred Vodou arts of Haiti. I explore the consumption and deliberate use of Haitian Creole for exchange, challenges the biases inherent to more mainstream conversations about art/art in Haiti, and amplifies diverse Haitian voices.

Paper long abstract:

The Protecting Haitian Patrimony Initiative (PHPI) is comprised of international contributors who came together to assist Haiti with the preservation of Haitian cultural patrimony following the devastating 2010 earthquake. As a project of PHPI, and in partnership with the State University of Haiti, the Digital Library of the Caribbean, and Galerie Monnin, among others, the FIU Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center's Haitian Art Digital Archive (HADA) contributes to ongoing efforts to help preserve Haitian cultural patrimony, highlight the work of Haiti's prominent cultural leaders, scholars and artists, and promote free and open access to discussions about the Arts in Haiti. My paper discusses Haitian art and the evolution of HADA as a unique, multi-functional platform to document, present and help preserve Haiti's artistic culture. More specifically, I examine how HADA, with a particular focus on the sacred arts of Haiti and through the deliberate use of Haitian Creole, provides an alternative forum for knowledge exchange, challenges the biases inherent to more mainstream conversations about art/art in Haiti, and amplifies diverse Haitian voices that are often underrepresented or entirely absent from academic scholarship produced outside of Haiti. I also discuss consumption and commodification of Haitian art and those who produce it, and how HADA aims to support multiple forms of valuation of sacred arts and artists in Haiti. Finally, I present how HADA, as a democratic model for international, interdisciplinary and intercultural exchange, has been leveraged to successfully attract public and private funding and support to ensure sustainability.

Panel P103
Archives and Anthropology