Kehinde Wiley: The World Stage - Haiti

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By Kehinde Wiley
Text by M. Cynthia Oliver, Ph.D. and Mike Rogge

Brooklyn-based painter Kehinde Wiley's acclaimed World Stage series inserts into the language of old master portraiture the very ethnicities and ethnic iconography that Western art has most excluded from it, or that Western art has portrayed solely in colonial terms. Among the countries and continents the American artist--currently the subject of a major exhibition traveling to Brooklyn, Fort Worth, Toledo, Seattle and Richmond--has previously depicted in this ambitious epic are Jamaica, Brazil, Africa, China, France, Israel, India and Sri Lanka. As technically impressive as they are conceptually complex, Wiley's portraits feature young black men in classic heroic poses, destabilizing canonical ideas of white masculinity and power.

The latest in the World Stage series of portraits by Kehinde Wiley (born 1977), this volume presents 13 new paintings, the result of the artist's trip to Haiti-a nation that is often presented as a place of chronic poverty, corruption and deprivation. In Haiti Wiley actively went looking for beauty, staging pageants to cast his portrait subjects and advertising with open calls on the radio and posters put up in the streets of Jacmel, Jalouise and Port-au-Prince. Wiley worked within the tradition of pageant culture native to the Caribbean but also subverted it, choosing his winners at random. The paintings draw on the artistic traditions of France and Spain (the colonial rulers of Haiti before the Haitian Revolution), as well as Haiti's varied religious traditions and local crafts, creating a composite portrait of contemporary Haiti through its people, history and culture.

Text is in English and Haitian Creole

Hardcover with jacket, 64 pages, 40 color images

Dimensions: 8.75 x 11.25 x 0.5 inches