Haiti On Demand – Art Intro: Haitian Art History. … For much of its early history, Haitian art was strongly influenced by the customs of French art, even after independence. By the 1820s, more than one art academy in the European style had been founded in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, and known Haitian artists included people like Thimoléon Déjoie
Brilliant colors, naïve perspective, and sly humor characterize Haitian art. Big, delectable foods and lush landscapes are favorite subjects in this land of poverty and hunger. Going to market is the most social activity of country life, and figures prominently into the subject matter. Jungle animals, rituals, dances, and gods evoke the African past.
Artists paint in fable as well. People are disguised as animals and animals are transformed into people. Symbols take on great meaning. For example, a rooster often represents Aristide and the red and blue colors of the flag of Haiti, often represent his Lavalas party.
Many artists cluster in ‘school’ of painting, such as the Cap-Haïtien school, which features depictions of daily life in the city, the Jacmel School, which reflects the steep mountains and bays of that coastal town, or the Saint-Soleil School, which is characterized by abstracted human forms, and is heavily influenced by Vodou symbolism.