Libraries Celebrate Haitian Culture with Extensive Art Exhibition

By Katy Rogers

Members of the community gathered to see the Haitian art exhibit.   Pictured is the work of Myrlene Desire Lenedre (Mimi).

The Everett Public Libraries hosted the second annual Haitian Art Exhibition on Friday and Saturday (May 19 and 20) in celebration of Haitian heritage month.

The exhibition travelled from the Shute Library to the Parlin Library over the weekend, and showcased art by professional artists of Haitian descent both living in Haiti and in the Everett area. Many don’t realize the tropical island has a long and rich history of painting and poetry – with generations of artists working in the streets and galleries of Haiti. As more and more Haitians come to Everett and other parts of the United States, that rich tradition has become more familiar in the communities like Everett where the Haitian population is represented.

That familiarity is exactly the purpose of the Art Exhibition that has appeared now for two years at the public libraries in tandem with Haitian Flag Day (May 18).

Art included last weekend in the exhibition was created by Haitian artists Nixon Legar, Roberson Joseph, Fabrice Dorante, and Myrlene Desire Legendre (Mimi), much of it celebrating Haitian culture and pride. The colorful paintings are primarily created in acrylic paint and range from portraits of Haitian people, still life of exotic fruits, to landscapes with beautiful island greenery.

Most of the paintings showcase a rich color palette, reminiscent of the natural tropical colors in Haiti, and part of the long history of painting that exists on the island.

Present throughout the exhibition was local artist “Mimi”, who painted several of the works showcased at the library. Mimi was born in Haiti in 1962, where she spent 14 years in boarding school.

She credits this time to inspiring her creativity.

“I was born in Haiti. My Mom is from Haiti and my dad is from Canada, so I had access to traveling,” she explained, which later gave her the opportunity to pursue her artistic dreams.

By 1985 she left boarding school and moved to the United States permanently where she studied fine art at George Washington University and the University of Maryland.

Today she owns and operates her own art gallery in Attleboro titled “In Sight Art Gallery,” where a number of Haitian artists showcase their work regularly, many of whom were also featured in the library.

Mimi works as a full time artist and gallery operator, promoting the culturally rich Haitian art around the world.

She has personally sold work throughout The United States, Canada, and Haiti while exposing local communities such as Everett to the beautiful artwork.

Mimi and her colleagues’ work can be seen at In Sight Art Gallery by appointment throughout the year, but it is a special treat when it appears in Everett for Haitian Heritage month.

The City of Everett hopes to continue this artistic tradition in years to come, exposing everyone to the colorful art with Haitian roots.

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