The Visual Sematics of Diaspora: Paul Gardère
January 17, 2007 - April 1, 2007
Diaspora: Multiple Narratives
The Visual Semantics of Diaspora, three exhibitions in conjunction with the Diaspora Project and Conference presented by the Berman Center for Jewish Studies.
Mixed-media works on paper reflecting layers of meaning and the spiritthat leads to questionning of origin and purpose, as well as issues ofcolonialism, imperialism, and presumptions of religious superiority. Gardère, and award-winning artist, was born in Port au Prince, Haiti and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His work has been widely exhibited nationally and is included in several public collections, including the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University.
“In the notion of diaspora, we find the reality of migration a constant flow and mix of
“Immigrants carry with them a fracture of the spirit that leads to questioning both of
origin and purpose. Situations of national emergency, whether back home or in the new
country, are particularly difficult to negotiate. The events of September 11, 2001 were
for me extremely significant in my development as an artist. That day, the issues of
colonialism, imperialism, the principle of a higher moral ground (ours) as well as the
presumptions of religious superiority, were magnified a thousand times. The enterprise of
making art was, for me, instantly recontexted between the new fury loose in the world and
the increasingly strident Christian nationalism in America.
“The work that I am doing currently (mixed media on paper) is a reaction to this new
climate of fear, righteousness and hypocrisy.
“In these new works, the dominant tendency is the appropriation of images from the Middle
Ages (1000-1300). I find these images in coloring books or in books about demons or
angels. The great themes of Hell, Salvation, Good and Evil, The Passion of Christ, the
whole psychic infrastructure of my Catholic boyhood reasserts itself here. Yet I do not
use these images as a declaration of faith but as mythical tableaux that serve to
illuminate somewhat the intimate spirit of our civilization.”
For more information on the Diaspora Project and Conference schedule through the Berman Center for Jewish Studies, click here.
LECTURE: Paul Gardere: “Visual Semantics of Diaspora”: Spring 2006