Dr. Peter L. Haffner presents the Figge Art Museum's Virtual Scholar Talk on Haitian Art -- December 10.

Thursday, December 10, 6:30 p.m.

Presented by the Figge Art Museum

Presented in conjunction with the venue's current exhibition Haitian Masterworks, a Virtual Scholar Talk on Haitian art will be presented by Davenport's Figge Art Museum on December 10, with participants invited to learn more about the rich history of the region and the exhibit that focuses on such prevalent artistic themes as spirituality, transformation, the natural world, everyday life, and Haitian history.

In 1967, Dr. Walter E. Neiswanger’s generous gift of Haitian paintings and sculptures established the Figge's expansive collection, which has grown to include a dynamic range of artwork in a variety of mediums and styles. Significant works by influential artists of the mid- to late-20th century including Hector Hyppolite, Philomé Obin, and Rigaud Benoit are featured in Haitian Masterworks, as well as the work of contemporary artists Frantz Zephirin, Edouard Duval-Carrié, and Didier William, among others. In addition to a range of talented artists, a variety of techniques are represented, including beadwork, oil painting, woodcarving, and mixed media assemblage. Visitors will be able to appreciate each artist’s dynamic vision while also experiencing the broad cultural and social context that connects Haitian artists.

“We are proud to be one of the few places outside of Haiti where visitors have the opportunity to view such a large and diverse collection of Haitian works,” said the museum's Executive Director and CEO Michelle Hargrave. “Our vibrant, colorful, lively, and thought-provoking collection reflects the boundless creativity and vitality of Haitian art and sparks meaningful conversations about the Haitian culture, people, and history.”

Since Dr. Neiswanger’s initial donation, the museum’s Haitian collection has continued to grow through strategic purchases and gifts. Haitian Masterworks demonstrates the ongoing expansion of the Figge’s collection, as well as the continuing evolution of Haitian art and artists of the Haitian Diaspora. The Figge’s recent acquisition N’ap naje ansamn, n’ap vole ansamn, by contemporary Haitian-American artist Didier William, is a powerful work melding William’s personal experience as a Haitian-American with the cultural history of Haiti in a dramatic combination of artistic styles and techniques.

“Our Haitian art collection is an important community resource, and through Haitian Masterworks we will share outstanding as well as rarely seen artworks with the Quad Cities,” said Figge Assistant Curator Vanessa Sage. “The stunning variety of artwork will amaze longtime museum-goers and new visitors alike, and engage our community with Haiti’s cultural, historical, and artistic significance.”

The Figge's latest virtual event will be presented by Dr. Peter L. Haffner, an Assistant Professor of Art History at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, whose interdisciplinary arts-based research centers on the work of Haitian artists.

The Virtual Scholar Talk: Haitian Art program begins at 6:30 p.m. on December 10, and while the online event is free, advance registration is required, with participants receiving an e-mail with a Zoom link two hours before the presentation starts. The Haitian Masterworks exhibition runs through January 24, and for more information and to register for the virtual talk, call (563)326-7804 or visit FiggeArtMuseum.org.

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