Sunday, February 28, 2010

the church

Yesterday I wrote about some of the damage to the cultural heritage of Haiti, and I also mentioned the Holy Trinity Church. This church was built in the 1920s, as an Episcopal church, in the center of Port-au-Prince. What makes the church unique is that in 1950 and 1951 a series of murals were painted by some of Haiti's greatest 'first generation' painters. A guy called Dewitt Peters had started the Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince, an art school to encourage Haitian painters, in the late 1940s. The school doesn't exist anymore, I think, but painting has subsequently developed into a quite extraordinary art movement, and a successful export product. DeWitt Peters also guided some of the most talented, and now most famous painters with the murals in the church. Toussaint August, Wilson Bigaud, Philome Obin and Castera Bazile are some of the painters who have contributed.

The church is no more. The only mural I could find back today was one by Castera Bazile, and another, half hidden, by Philome Obin. Unlike in the past, when the church was dark and the murals not very well visible, now this one was lit by bright sunlight, not hampered by a roof, or an opposite wall. Very sad.

(1) the front of the Holy Trinity Church, with only one wall, the north transept, still standing.

(2, 3) Castera Bazile's "Baptism of the Lord", and part of Philome Obin's "Last Supper", even without a lot of Bible knowledge recognizable, I would say.

For good measure I also add some photos of the Cathedral - no further comments needed. Last time I was in here was in 2001, I think, during the installation (if not coronation) of president Aristide.

(4,5) Port-au-Prince Cathedral.

I promise that this will have been the last pictures of destruction on this blog.... probably.


  1. Really sad... I hoped that the murals had survived. Although a little bit is left, they are very exposed, so I wonder how long are we going to be able to enjoy them. Anyways, as my friend Karen said, the Haiti we knew is no more. I only wish that the spirit of the wonderful Haitian people its never broken. That would be the last blow.

  2. you read my mind, Sofia (or maybe we had just been talking on the telephone....), so see next installment.