“Art from the Heart”
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My fellow artists, Good morning
My “Art from the Heart” is: a tribute to:
Many months ago, / Billie Fai Ball presented to me the fertile concept of: / “Art from the Heart”. / You placed me gently / at the entrance of a long tunnel / with only a glimmer of light at the far end. / Walking with careful steps toward that enlightenment, / I understand the “sine qua non” of my sculpting. / The journey takes me from seeing my art / as a form of universal celebration / to something more profound. / My sculpture is the fruition of my parents, / not birth parents, but art parents. / Thank you for putting me on this path, Billie Fai / and my gratitude goes / to the Retired Teachers Association for inviting me. /
This is Black History Month / and the history of Black Americans / is the merging of two civilizations: / European and African. / The America of today / is the result of the nobility of these two continents, / the complexity of their cultures, / and the originality of their values. / And so it is / in my life as an artist./ For you see, my one art parent descends from Europe / and the other Africa. /
At a young age, I left Haiti / to enter a boarding school in Quebec, Canada. /This is where I met Sister Claire de Jesus./ In my middle years, I met Francois Sanon in Haiti./ These outstanding teachers, / made an impact on my life.
My art mother Sister Claire is a nun / of a French religious order./ My art father Francois Sanon / is an internationally renowned sculptor / from Jeremie, Haiti.
Sister Claire, / a genuinely sweet person, / taught me music, voice and piano for 9 years./ Later,/ Sanon passed on to me from earlier generations of Haitian sculptors / the baton of sculpting. / One was academic and structured; / the other followed a freestyle approach. / Both, however, / were methodical and demanding teachers. / They anchored in me / discipline, / hard work /and excellence.
Art mother / offered me the sacredness she found in life and liturgy; / one was the link to the other. / For her, / everything under the sun is sacred. / She looks at life and liturgy as twin sisters / and that dualism / is the complement that balances the cosmos.
Sanon released my creativity / and like a dove it took flight. / Breaking the shackles of the eyes’ reality, / the flight of the dove / went from the mundane to the spiritual plane. / Here is found the voice of the wood. / It teaches what I do not know. / Between us / a dialog grows to a crescendo / as the beauty of the wood transforms into a work of art. /
Through this cultural confluence of North America and the Caribbean, / I found true bearing. / The influence of these two teachers / guided me to my spiritual path / through art. / As an artist and a pilgrim of this earth, / but not of this world,/ they helped me encapsulate the essence of beauty./
Carving takes me to another world,/ a world not seen, /and a world of fantasy. / This world inspires me to celebrate something higher than my physical self. / Through carving, / I am the writer, / the actor, / and the musician./ My performance uses the precision of chisels, / the movement of my body, / and the music of the wood. / Out of these languages / emerges a story for all to know. / The story / is the very sacredness / of our physical and spiritual life. / It is also only a guide / and a moment in life’s journey. / The journey is a puzzle/ and our stories guide us / in understanding the journey.
As I stand before you today, / I want to share a dream. / Yes, I have a dream. / I dream of a better world to live in / and that is when / each and everyone recognizes the artist in themselves. / We are all artists, / with stories to tell, / creations to inspire,/ passion to unleash / and, this is a true blessing.
Finally, / allow me to make a wish:
· May our discipline, / knowledge and love/ make our dreams come true / for a better world to live in.
Ladies and Gentlemen / it was a pleasure talking to you / and now, I welcome your questions.
A Tribute to Two Countries, Two Teachers, One Legacy