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.

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