José Bedia, Antonia Wright, Gean Moreno Design Pop-Up Classrooms for Haiti
While the colorful canvases might provide artful recluse in between classes at FIU, they will function as multi-purpose classrooms in L'Athletique d'Haiti in Cite Soleil, Haiti. The 20x15x13-feet tents were donated by Armbruster, America's oldest tentmaker, and all paint and material was specifically chosen to withstand extreme weather. When the sun shines down on each tent, the colors of the artwork will filter into the into the interior where children are attending class. The tents will also be visible from airplanes flying into Port-au-Prince -- a bright spot in an otherwise somber landscape of rubble and fractured dreams where most schools crumbled to the ground.
Antuan collaborated with Elba Luis Lugo to create Barcode Noir, a simple barcode over a white tent, the numbers portraying important years in Haitian history. It serves as "a play on words which rejects the Code Noir, a European, French dictated document, which is the backbone of oppression, torture, violation of human rights and crime against blacks traded from African slave exportation ports," according to the artists. "[It] plays on myriad interpretations of the barcode icon, a symbol of trade, emblematic of the marketplace."
A Ruben Millares and Antonia Wright tent features words in English and Creole, mostly Haitian poems. On the roof of the tent, the words from two rainbow-colored irises, which appear to look up into the sky. They "ask for help and accountability to those who fly over," say the artists. "The eyes not only represent the wishes in the children's eyes within the school, but are also a reflection of the people above. And God."
Other artists who designed tents include Pedro Barbeito, Damian Sarno, Edouard Duval Carrié, Gean Moreno, Leonel Matheu, Nicolas Leiva, and José Garcia Cordero. The Frost Art Museum exhibit is the last chance to see the tents before they head to Haiti in February.
Base Paint Tents is on display until January 31, 2011 at FIU-MMC on the lawn outside of Frost Art Museum (10975 SW 17th St., Miami). Call 305-348-2890 or visit thefrost.fiu.edu.
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