Exactly one year after an earthquake devastated Haiti, students, faculty and alumni of Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School will observe a solemn day of personal reflection. Their day will begin with prayers of remembrance for families and friends who died and an extended hand of support for displaced students who have found a new home at the school in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood.
The events will include tours of Carl Juste and Andre Chung’s exhibit, Invictus: Haiti Unconquered throughout the day.
Juste, an alumnus of the local high school, and Chung are award-winning photojournalists of the Iris PhotoCollective.
Invictus: Haiti Unconquered, which went on exhibit on Dec. 4 at the gallery, is a series of images that document the unfolding of events following the earthquake that is believed to have killed hundreds of thousands of Haitians.
Inspired by William Ernest Henley’s iconic poem Invictus, the last image presented, Leg Up, shows a man’s prosthetic leg at the foreground of the image as if tossed into the hands of the viewer while a leg-less man proudly shows off his handstand skills. An arid field of dead grass surrounds him.
The country’s natural beauty of gray mountains and shadowy clouds, as seen in the image’s background, is very distant and seems blocked off and separated by a row of portable outhouses, a concrete fence, and power lines.
The focal point, however, is the man.
Leg Up signifies the poem’s last stanza: “It matters not how strait the gate/How charged with punishment the scroll/I am the master of my fate;/I am the captain of my soul.”
The Iris PhotoCollective, formed in 1998, is a project spearheaded by four like-minded photographers: Juste, Chung, Pablo Martinez Monsivais, and Clarence Williams.
As artists of color themselves, they are each concerned with the way their communities are depicted in the media.
Through a shared mission to explore and document the relationships of people of color to the world, their photographic projects create a record that is free of the influence of the dominant culture, while maintaining the integrity and principles of photojournalism. Their visual stories document their work from around the world.
In an interview with Dick Gordon of North Carolina Public Radio in February, 2010, Juste, still recovering from the dust and trauma from his assignment in Haiti, offered this comment:
“During the earthquake, the rich were impacted, the poor were impacted. No one was segregated and, for the first time, at least that I can remember, the plight of the Haitian became the plight of the world.
And maybe out of all of this pain and all this suffering there is a rebirth – but not only a rebirth of a nation, of an island nation but of ourselves.”
Photo: This photograph, titled, Prayer for the Dead, is among pictures from the Iris PhotoCollective now on exibit at the ACND Gallery of Art at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School in Miami’s Little Hatiti neighborhood. The exibition, titled, Invictus: Haiti Unconquered, Story on 2B.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Memorial Prayer Service and photographic exhibition, Invictus: Haiti Unconquered to remember the victims of Haiti’s earthquake
WHERE: ACND Gallery of Art, Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School, 4949 NE Second Ave.
WHEN: Memorial Service, 11 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 12. Tours of the exhibit start at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12. Exhibit will continue through Saturday, Jan. 15, with tours 8 a.m.-4 p.m. school days and at other times by appointment.
CONTACT: Call 305-751-8367 or visit www.acnd.net.
SPECIAL NOTE: Exhibit posters available for sale, with proceeds benefiting the high school’s "Sponsor A Knight Program" that offers tuition assistance to families in need. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org