Haitian art is a complex tradition, reflecting African roots with strong Indigenous American and European aesthetic and religious influences. It is an important representation of Haitian culture and history.
Many artists cluster in ‘schools’ 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.
Saint Soleil school is a famous art school in Haiti whose the founder members are Levoy Exil, Prosper Pierre Louis, Louisiane Saint Fleurant, Dieuseul Paul and Denis Smith. A second generation member is Magda Magloire, the daughter of Louisiane Saint Fleurant.
Painting by Prosper Pierre-Louis, 1990
The main haitian painters are from Artibonite, north western department of Haiti. They are considered as such beacuse they developed their own style, which is quite recognizable.The style began with Saincilus Ismaël (1940–2000), who was influenced by Byzantine art he had seen in books. Ismaël began to paint in 1956 after visiting the Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince. His paintings are marked by exquisite detail. Every article of clothing, house, or tree is painted with a different intricate geometric pattern.
Délouis Jean-Louis grew up in Petite Rivière under the influence of Ismaël. Although he worked under Ismaël for 15 years, he never had formal painting lessons. He began painting to make money, but gradually began to paint carefully executed scenes from his imagination.
Alix Dorléus also learned to paint with Ismaël and Mrs. Mellon. He paints all day long and will paint anywhere he feels the spirit to motivate him. His best paintings are detailed depictions, like activity maps, of daily life in the Artibonite Valley.
Ernst Louizor is considered one of the best impressionist painters of Haiti. Louzor was born in Port-au-Prince on October 16, 1938. After high school (Lycee Toussaint L'Ouverture '57) he worked in the tax section of Customs. Louizor's painting career began in 1951 when at the age of 13 he joined the Centre d'Art and studied under Wilmino Domond. He later entered the Académie des Beaux-Arts shortly after its founding in 1959 and furthered his studies with Georges Remponeau. Louzor has many disciples including his wife Gerda Louizor. He has exhibited in Europe and the U.S..
There also haitian painters out of the country.
Notable artists of Haitian descent and members of the diaspora include Jean-Michel Basquiat , Hersza Barjon and Ernst Registre.
The market painting is a Haitian archetype, originating with Laurent Casimir. It typically depicts a Haitian market and is done in the trademark colors of Casimir red, yellow and orange. The motive is often dense with people. These paintings were mass-produced by Laurent Casimir and his apprentices in the mid-70's, all signed by Casimir. This archetype is later taken up by contemporary Haitian artist like Jean-Louis, many of which studied under Laurent Casimir.
Here is a painting by Jean Michel Basquiat
Haitian sculpture is made of natural materials, traditional art mediums, and recycled materials."Haitian Steel Drum Sculpture" The village of Noailles in Croix-des-Bouquets is home to over a dozen artisan workshops producing countless pieces for over two decades. The work is created out of recycled oil drums. In August 2011, the Clinton Global Initiative along with Greif Inc., donated 40 tons of scrap metal to the artists in Croix-des-Bouquets. After the earthquake in 2010, artists had a difficult time finding material to work from. According to Deputy Jean Tholbert Alexis, 8,000 people in the area are directly or indirectly benefit from the villages' artisans.
The most famous sculpture in Haiti is ''Nèg Mawon'' by Albert Mangonès, 1959