Plains Art Museum, in partnership with Philomé Productions, is hosting Empower Haiti: Disaster Relief and Orphanage Fundraiser. This auction and exhibition feature seven distinct and original photographic prints from Wess Philomé, an energetic and insightful, incisive creative talent who has resided in ND for 15 years. Bidding on these seven works opens at $500 in $10 increments and runs through November 2nd. Additionally, supporters who donate at the $50+ level will receive a 5 x 7 in. print, and those who donate $200+ will receive an 8 x 10 in. print. Donors can choose from two artist chosen prints.
On January 12th, 2010, the earthquake that struck Haiti was a force of violence that claimed the lives of over three hundred thousand people, altered environmental landscapes, and compounded the already destabilized political, civic, and totalizing ecological infrastructure. Most recently, on August 14th, 2021, another earthquake struck. This recent disaster intensified the already precarious contexts surrounding the country: immediately following the latest earthquake, Haiti had to brace itself for Tropical Depression Grace and the recent and insidious assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. The catastrophic events that continue to plague the island since 2010 have all converged to create conditions of political, civic, and economic precarity.
Yet and still Haitian-born American artist-activist, Wess Philomé beckons us to reflect on recent tragedy, but also to stop and behold the beauty, and also the humanistic resilience and poetic refusals of Haiti and its people. Philomé asks that we reconsider how we see the world, how we see Haiti, and how we understand our own role in empowering Haiti.
This exhibition is supplemented with a concurrent display of select images from Empower Haiti: Disaster Relief and Orphanage Fundraiser at North Dakota State University’s Memorial Union Gallery in their Project Exhibition Space. This concurrent exhibition is made possible by an artist grant under the auspices of Gallery Coordinator | Curator of Collections, Anthony Faris.
Empower Haiti: Disaster Relief and Orphanage Fundraiser was coordinated by Plains Art Museum’s Voices of Creative Change Initiative with the support, guidance, talent, insight of the following: Artist-Activist, Wess Philomé, Coordinator of Voices of Creative Change, Dr. Kelvin Monroe, Director | CEO, Andy Maus, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Tasha Kubesh, Development | Communications Coordinator, Sarah Anstett, Graphics | Communications Manager, Cody Jacobson, Director of Operational | Curatorial Logistics, Steve Jacobs, and the Associate Registrar, Kaitlin Molden. Finally, this event is made possible by the generous endowment support of Arlette and Richard Preston.