CHARLIE McMAHON ’18
Unlike many of our peer schools, Trinity College does not have a permanently displayed art collection. Rival schools like Wesleyan, Bates, and Middlebury all do, but somewhere down the line, Trinity decided to put its resources elsewhere. That is why it is so nice to have temporary art exhibits like the one currently hanging in the second story of Mather Hall. Some feel that there isn’t enough artistic appreciation on campus or interest among students. This may be because there is no designated central space for the arts. The artistic scene is fragmented into a few small locations like the Mather Art Space or the Austin Arts Center. The current exhibit features the paintings of contemporary Haitian artists Jean-Baptiste Jean, Jaques Dorce, Gerard Paul, and others.
The vibrancy of these pieces reveals the current Haitian social climate. Despite so much devastation and hardship in recent years, the local inhabitants still manage to find happiness through art and music. Faith seems to be a strong motivator for several of these artists, which can be seen through numerous depictions of the cross. This theme serves to remind the viewer that in times of hardship and devastation, we must turn inwards, relying on faith and hope to get us th
rough. The sheer optimism of these paintings is what makes them so beautiful. To many Americans, wreck and ruin are the first images conjured when the discussions turn to Haiti. However, the truth is that Haiti is slowly rebuilding, as can be seen and felt in the painted images of local children celebrating their heritage in a classroom setting, or women hanging their laundry out in the street.
The piece by Paul Mannot titled Woman on Horseback is of particular interest, harkening back to earlier depictions of the human form, and exploring the past through artistic expression.
In our stressful collegiate atmosphere, students in need of quiet reflection might be advised tomake the trek to Mather, and absorb these beautiful pieces. Students may indeed feel transported from wintry Hartford to the hot sand beaches of the Caribbean islands.
CHARLIE McMAHON ’18