May Matters

Did you know that the month of May is devoted to Haitian heritage? The event is of special interest to anyone living in a city with a large Haitian expatriate population, like Miami, Florida or New York City. On May 18, Haitians celebrate flag day. Just two days later on May 20 is the birthday of Toussaint Louverture, a hero of the Haitian national independence movement. But culture encompasses more than patriotism and history. It’s about art, music, dance, storytelling and getting in touch with the creative roots of a most remarkable culture.

Here is a rundown of what South Floridians can look forward to, along with visitors to the area in a Haitian frame of mind. Today (Friday, May 7th) there will be an exhibition of Haitian art opening tonight from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Regions Bank, 2800 Ponce de Leon Boulevard in Coral Gables. The curator of the show, which runs through June 4th, is well-known Haitian art dealer Michele Frisch, who owns Galerie Marassa in Petionville, Haiti. Admission is free. For more information, telephone 1-786/290-9718.

Another free exhibition is “Contemporary Haitian Memory in Motion, From the Rubble We Rise Once Again” at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212 N.E. 59th Terrace in Miami. Curated by Babacar Mbow, the show features master contemporary artists from Port-au-Prince. Hours of the center are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The art is on display through June 30th. For more information, telephone 1-305/960-2969.

Traditional Haitian storytelling with Lilianne Nerette takes place on May 15th from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the North Miami Public Library located at 835 N.E. 132nd Street in North Miami. Admission is free. For more information, telephone 1-305/892-0843.

A Haitian Flag Day Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Central Broward Regional Park at 3700 N.W. 11th Place in Fort Lauderdale. Admission is $20 with children under twelve free. Look for Sweet Micky, Alan Cave, Misty Jean, Eddy Francois and others to perform. For more information, telephone 1/954-290-3995.

The Twelfth Annual Compas Festival is set from 12 noon to midnight on May 15th at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami. This is the big music festival featuring Barikad Crew, Zekle, T-Vice, Carimi and Kreyol La. Tickets are $35 in advance. For more information, telephone 1/305-945-8814.

A Haitian Flag Day Celebration featuring narrative storytelling, dance and music will take place on the plaza at the Museum of Contemporary Art at 770 N.E. 125th Street in North Miami. Admission for the event, from 6 to 8 p.m. on May 18th, is free. For more information, telephone 1/305/893-6211. In the same location, the North Miami Haiti Relief Fundraiser featuring the Laissez Faire Dance Group will take place on May 21st from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $40. For more information, telephone 1/305/895-9815 or 1/305/895-9818. It’s time to celebrate this vibrant culture.

–Candice Russell

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