Auction draws art lovers to support Haiti

By Felicia Frazar
The Gazette-Enterprise

Published February 16, 2010

Area art connoisseurs opened their hearts and their wallets to honor a local sculptor and her country.

In the wake of the Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated the country of Haiti — and in honor of local artist Marika Bordes’ Haitian roots — the Seguin Oakwood Art League decided to host an art auction benefit on Saturday at the Silver Center.

Artists from the area and beyond brought in some of their collected pieces or their own works of art to be sold through a live or silent auction, said Jeanne Palmer, Seguin Oakwood Art League president.

“We got donations from artists from San Antonio to Austin and a majority of the donations were from artist in the Seguin Area,” Palmer said. “People were just really outpouring. They just really embraced what we were doing.”

Along with the auctions, donation jars were placed throughout the room to generate more funds for the cause.

“Some people don’t really want to bring something else home, but they want to donate,” she said. “A little less than $500 came from the jars.”

All three forms of collection brought in nearly $10,000 to be distributed to three organizations — American Red Cross, Save The Children and Doctors Without Borders, Palmer said.

“The total funds that we have in our hand is $9,747, with the incoming funds it’s going to be over $9,800. It would not surprise me if we hit that $10,000 by the time all of the funds are in,” she said. “The majority of the funds are going to Red Cross, then Doctors Without Borders and then to Save The Children.”

Purchasers were given the opportunity to choose which charity their donation would benefit, said Dennis Martin.

“We were trying to come up with three organizations that everyone knows about and Save the Children and Doctors Without Borders both have offices in Haiti and I am sure the American Red Cross has one, as well,” he said.

Martha Swanson, artist, said she came out to support the cause and had donated some artwork to be sold.

“I think it’s a good thing,” she said. “We need to take any possible opportunity to help these people.”

Nearly 100 works were donated to the fundraiser. Twenty of them were designated to be sold in the live auction, but a couple of surprises were added — one only moments before the auction and the second in the middle, Palmer said.

“Edmund [Kuempel] gave us a Texas chair from the senate and then we had someone who brought a gift certificate for 10 hours of instruction from Marika and then donated it back,” she said.

Of the pieces auctioned off were two of Bordes’ sculptures and a teaching session with Bordes that brought in about $4,000.

Overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for her homeland, Bordes addressed the audience with a “thank you” note from her sister-in-law and a Haitian Creole song “Mèci Bon Dié.”

“It means, ‘Thank you, Oh Lord.’ I thanked the Lord like the people of my country would do,” she said. “I just wanted to be connected with my people and thank the Lord with everybody.”

Haitians may have never heard of Seguin, Texas, but through the tragedy they are feeling a connection to the area residents, Bordes said.

“Right now a small town they have never heard about — I have been sending them all of the papers for them — has been doing so much and they know that we are with them,” she said. “I think with that fundraiser it would help some smiles to come back on my peoples’ faces, like all of the fundraisers. It’s very neat and very moving of what is going on in this little community.”

Main Street Artists Supporting Haiti Fundraiser

Seguin Daily News Monday, February 15, 2010

Main Street artists supporting Haiti fundraiser

By Mary Jo Filip, Main Street Program Director

(Seguin) — Sometimes, things that seem very remote and far away from our own personal reality hit home in an unusual way. The Seguin Main Street Program has had the benefit of having Marika Bordes serve on the board for the past several years. As an artist, Marika was instrumental in moving one of the Main Street Advisory Board goals forward during the past year: the development of an Arts Commission in Seguin. She and her husband, Dennis Martin, are also friends of Seguin’s efforts to preserve and tell the story of its rich history, having renovated their home and received approval for placement of a Texas Historical Marker on the property.

So, when disaster struck Haiti, Seguin was struck by just how close to home Haiti seemed since Marika is from Haiti. Her artist friends wanted to show how much they value her and agreed to host an Art Auction to benefit Haiti. The Seguin Oakwood Art League contacted members and artist friends from surrounding communities including San Antonio, Austin and Staples and organized the Haiti Benefit Art Auction which is being held on Saturday, February 13 at the Silver Center located at 510 E. Court Street. There is a reception with refreshments from 5-6 p.m. and Texas State Representative Edmund Kuempel will then serve as auctioneer for the event.

Art from the MJC Gallery located downtown will be included in the auction. Photographer Matt Chase is donating two photographs taken in Central Park. One features the bandstand and fountain and one the statue of Juan Seguin. Both are framed and ready to be hung. Kris Kelso, also with MJC Gallery, has donated a colorful painting of a girl in traditional Mexican dance wear. Other art that has been displayed by members of the Seguin Oakwood Art League in the downtown vacant window “Phantom Galleries” is also being donated for the auction.

A crowning jewel of the auction will be a wood sculpture created by our Haitian-born Main Street friend, Marika Bordes.

All proceeds will go to Save the Children, Doctors without Borders, or The American Red Cross.


New Arts Commission in Seguin

Seguin Daily News Monday February 1, 2010

By Mary Jo Filip, Main Street Program Director

On Wednesday, Jan. 27 Mayor Betty Ann Matthies swore in the new members of the Arts Commission as required by State Law for those serving on municipal boards and commissions. New members are Stella Ozuna representing Teatro de Artes de Juan Seguin, John Masterson representing the Mid Texas Symphony, Ann Leithead representing the Oakwood Art League, Sheila Bailey Lucas representing Seguin Art Center, Stephen Anderson representing Texas Lutheran University, Sharon Amman who is a Citizen representative, and Dana Overstreet who is also a Citizen representative on the Commission.
The Arts Commission will meet the week of February 1 for the purpose of adopting By-laws and electing officers. A networking gathering of artists is being planned.

The development of an Arts Commission resulted from the strategic planning process of the Main Street Advisory Board. The ordinance passed by City Council stated:
—The visual, performing, and cultural arts organizations are growing in Seguin.
—The interests of each of the various arts and cultural activities may be better coordinated and supported by an organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts.
—The City Council of the City of Seguin desires to establish a Commission on the Arts for the purpose of promoting and supporting the arts.
—The purpose of the Commission on the Arts will be to encourage, stimulate, foster, and promote programs that will enrich the cultural environment of the City, thereby contributing to the quality of life in Seguin to the general attractiveness of Seguin for the purposes of economic development.
—The Commission on the Arts will work to help Seguin become an arts destination for the region in the belief that growth in the arts will enhance quality of life, economic development, and revitalization of Seguin.

The board members were appointed for staggered, two-year terms and can be reappointed for up to two additional terms.
The Commission is tasked with establishing, maintaining and publicizing a community-wide Arts Calendar; creating and maintaining an inventory of artists, arts organizations, events and available venues; communicating about and promoting the arts and artists; recommending policies to promote the arts; serve as a resource; look into establishing a volunteer network to assist artists; encourage networking; encourage the development of additional arts and cultural events and artifacts to the city; and to pursue funding for the support of arts programs.

John Masterson has spearheaded the development of the Arts Commission along with local artist and Main Street board member Marika Bordes. In a presentation to City Council, Masterson said: “The arts are a reflection of the highest and most noble aspirations of humanity. A vibrant arts scene is a sign of a culturally enlightened community. Establishing a Commission on the Arts will signal our City’s commitment to aesthetic values and how such values enrich us all.”


Haiti Disaster Relief Art Auction

From the Seguin Daily News

Haitian artist speaks out on earthquake catastrophe; Local group rallies behind colleague to host fine art auction

Award-winning wood sculptor Marika Bordes, of Seguin, (right) shows off one of her 30 art pieces currently on display at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center in Austin. The native from Haiti is currently accepting the donation of fine art pieces for Saturday’s Haiti Benefit Art Auction in Seguin at the Silver Center. The event, hosted by the Seguin Oakwood Art League, will include guest auctioneer and State Representative Edmund Kuempel and a champagne reception that will begin at 5 p.m. Pictured alongside Bordes is Bernadette Pfeiffer, director of the art museum in Austin.


By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera(Seguin) — The art found nestled in every corner of Haiti is how Marika Bordes attributes much of her exposure and appreciation for her creative skill in wood carving. Following last month’s catastrophic earthquake, Bordes says she can’t help but spend much of her days returning to the memories of her native land where she spent most of her childhood. Bordes, who hails from Port-au-Prince, says the devastation left behind is a feeling too “heavy to carry.”

“I’ve been able to enter in contact with some family and friends. It is sad, very sad. Fortunately for me, I don’t have anybody very near that has lost their life. When I say anybody – any family – but I have a lot of friends that are not present. When I talked to my little cousin, she told me that my cousin was in the kitchen cooking when she heard a noise because from what I heard the earthquake comes with kind of a noise and she says let me go on the porch to see what’s going on, and 15 seconds later, her three-story house was collapsing. When Dennis, my husband, heard about the earthquake, he says, ‘I’m sure that your cousin’s house won’t fall because it was really well-built and heavy built.’ When I heard that, I was devastated and (understood) that everything crumbled,” said Bordes.

Aafter attending a board school in Quebec, Canada, Bordes says she appreciates the opportunity to have returned to Haiti after years of living elsewhere. In addition to her many childhood memories, Bordes says many of her memories are also recent. She spent nearly 12 years, up until 2001, in Haiti.

Bordes says she can’t help but imagine her country now as many of her child and adult memories have been physically erased.

“Every single building I knew since my early age has been either shaken or swallowed. Even the churches that were considered so strong kneeled down to the ground leaving an after taste of an apocalyptic vision of the end of the world. Whether you’re rich or poor, the churches are always open. You go there to pray, you go there sometimes to just be there. Poor people when the sun is too hot over their head, they sit down in church. When you have some kind of doctor’s appointment,you go there just to find support from the silence of the church and each and every church that I used to go, they are no more. Our heads are filled with dead people and yet every day the numbers keep going up feeding the emptiness in my heart. Port-au-Prince, my childhood home, has become a tent city housing tens of thousands of homeless,” said Bordes.

Despite its current ruins, Bordes says it’s the memories of her native land that she will carry in her heart forever. She says it was while in Haiti and at the age of 49 that she was told by fine wood sculpture Francois Sanon that she possessed the potential to be an artist. From 1996 to 2001, Bordes studied under his guidance which ultimately led her to her success winning numerous prestigious art contests in Montreal, Canada and New York City. Her wood sculptures, which many are said to describe her introspection on her own femineity, are also currently on display at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center in Austin.

It’s Bordes talent and membership in the Seguin Oakwood Art League which has inspired this weekend’s Haiti Benefit Art Auction at the Silver Center. According to Bordes, fine art is being accepted from any artist willing to donate a piece to help raise money for the Haitian Disaster Relief Fund. The event will include a champagne reception at 5 p.m. followed by the live auction from 6 to 8 p.m. with guest auctioneer State Representative Edmund Kuempel.

Bordes says she puts out the plea to all artists and collectors and says she’ll be accepting the art pieces at her studio this Wednesday through Friday from 1 to 5 p.m.

“It’s all artists who want to give a piece of art. I would say it’s not necessarily artists. You might have a piece of art that you want to donate for the occasion. It will be welcomed. It will be well-received,” said Bordes.

The fine art can be dropped off at her studio.  Bordes says this latest effort by her art friends and art community has inspired her even more and has made her appreciate her decision to finally call Seguin home.

“A number of phone calls, people coming to me and to my husband asking how we were doing and how my family are in Haiti – it’s been very touching, and I’m very happy that I’ve been strong enough to say that. That’s the first time I say it without crying. I also want to thank President Obama for immediate and full response to this disaster. this touched us and touched us deeply,” said Bordes.

Proceeds raised from the live and silent auction will support disaster relief in Haiti through Save the Children, Doctors without Borders or the American Red Cross.

“Those purchasing art will select one of the three organizations they want to receive their donation. As a Citizen of Haiti, I simply stand before you today to ask for your help in the relief efforts. The truth remains that are people are dying. We cannot let it slip away – from a current event to a past tragedy. Our actions can help to heal the scars the earthquake left in the country and in our psyches. Our actions can do miracles,” said Bordes.

Events leading up to this weekend’s Haitian Disaster Relief Art Auction can be followed at www.seguinartleague.blogspot.com.


Plenitude: A Photo Journal

November 5, 2009: In the beginning there was ..

 

 

December 16, 2009: “Plénitude” was born

 

November 5, 2009: Planning the first cut with the chainsaw

 

 

Sketching the outline

The initial cuts with the grinder

 

Taking shape

Two weeks later

Cardboard prototype of the base

First Sanding

After sanding,

sanding,

sanding …

“Plénitude” is ready for the next step

First oil bath

“Plénitude” is waxed and polished

Testing the base

First coat of primer

Final coat of paint

Polishing the marble base

 

December 18, 2009: Day of departure for Europe

Packing for the journey

“Plénitude” in Belgium

“PLENITUDE”

Tell me mother

That ultimate moment

We are experiencing together

what is it?

Would it be already a piece of paradise? …

 

My sweet daughter

You and I, because of our bonding

We are living in a state of grace.

Let’s wish it lasts forever

Because it is so called “Plénitude”

Marika Bordes