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Synopsis of Haitian Art

Written by  |  Published in Haitian Culture & Politics

Synopsis of Art by Artists of Haitian Descent in the Diaspora –– Part I

By Marcel Duret and Fred Thomas


ON May 15, 2013, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Dustheads” sold for a record price of US$48.8 million at a Christie’s auction in New York. This made “Dustheads” one of the most expensive pieces of art on earth today. Basquiat’s impact can be seen globally. An example is an exhibition of his work from May 21 to August 10, 2013 at the Gagosian Gallery in Hong Kong. The exhibition attests to Basquiat’s acute global relevance 25 years after his untimely death. Basquiat is without a doubt the king of all artists of Haitian descent. But while he has gained international stardom, many other artists of Haitian descent living in the United States and Canada haven’t enjoyed the publicity that surrounded Basquiat’s life and death. Nevertheless, they are a group of extremely talented artists who have contributed to the vivacity of the art scene in North America.

HAITIAN EXPERT MARCEL DURET

Written by  |  Published in Haitian Culture & Politics

Former Ambassador to Japan from Haiti (1991-2003) Marcel Duret provides political and social commentary from Haiti expressing his unique perspective on Caribbean culture and politics.

A Haitian Perspective


Congratulations President Chavez

THE destiny of Venezuela’s many underprivileged people was on the line during the October 2012 presidential election, and they were able to influence the outcome by voting for incumbent Hugo Chavez. In Haiti, the ever increasing percentage of people living under the poverty level were unaware that things could have got worse for them if Chavez had lost. Haitian people may take to the street to celebrate when the Brazilian national soccer team wins, but there was not even as much as a sigh of relief from the general population when the news came that Chavez had won the election. Is it because they do not know of the invaluable contribution Chavez has been making to Haiti’s state budget? Or is it because so far the money has not reached them or spurred major changes to better their livelihoods? Thanks to the clairvoyance of Rene Preval, Haiti’s former two-term president, Haiti dared to forge a relationship with Chavez.

Parenting with Lorraine

Written by  |  Published in Parenting

A 30-year veteran Marriage Family and Child therapist, mother of five, and grandmother of 10, Lorraine Al-Jamie helps parents to acquire skills that enhance their ability to raise high-functioning and happy children.

The Terrible Twos and Adolescence

Although the terrible twos and adolescence seem far apart, they have much in common. Both are times when children feel a great need for autonomy. Since parents are well aware that children still need us to guide them, we cannot just throw our hands up and give them the freedom they want even though at times we may all be tempted to do so.

YOGA ADVOCATE JUDIT TOROK

Written by  |  Published in Yoga Lifestyle

A regular visitor to Tokyo, New York City- based Yoga Instructor and Interculturalist Judit Torok shares her techniques for alleviating big city stress.

Yoga on the Go

Traveling can take a lot out of us, physically and mentally. Running from trains to taxis, carrying and lifting heavy bags, standing and waiting in long lines and being jammed into tight and uncomfortable spaces – these are common for travelers. And through all of this we often forget to take care of ourselves and instead accumulate anxiety and strain on our bodies that can have serious long-term consequences for our well-being.

Rethinking the MBA

Written by  |  Published in Commentary

 

Rethinking the MBA

 

As the global financial crisis has subsided, some business schools have added one or two courses on ethics to their MBA programs. The courses are mostly an afterthought. The thinking behind them is: “Our financial institutions have behaved badly, so maybe it would be a good idea to add a touch of ethical instruction to the curriculum.” Nothing could be more revealing of the mindset of our economic thinkers than that business ethics has become a sideshow, an add-on, an extra frill.

The prevailing view of the economy as a giant autonomous mechanism following inexorable laws is a highly abstract, quasi-scientific conception. Like the laws of gravity, there isn’t much room for ethics. But, in fact, this prevailing view conflicts sharply with how we actually experience the economy in our day-to-day encounters.

The Hungarian philosopher Karl Polanyi emphasized the importance of what he called “tacit knowledge,” or non-conscious knowledge that accumulates from our experience with ideas, objects, people or institutions without our being fully aware of it.

Movie Subtitling: Natsuko Toda

Written by  |  Published in Translation & Subtitling

Interview series with Japan’s most renowned translator of foreign films and interpreter for Hollywood stars, Natsuko Toda.

TJ: What is the most common challenge or difficulty that film subtitlers are faced with, and how can this challenge be overcome?
Toda: Practically speaking, having no job is the most difficult situation. Many people want to do subtitling, but job opportunities are limited. Movie companies don’t want to ask someone who has no experience, as they put so much money into the movie. So they usually only ask experienced subtitlers. It’s a vicious circle. You can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job. Getting a job and doing it well is the most important thing. If you fail, you will never be asked again. It’s very hard. I think most people fail because of their lack of Japanese proficiency.

Hiroyuki Suzuki Photo Exhibit Interview #2

Written by  |  Published in Tokyo Photography

Hiroyuki Suzuki's camera lens has taken him to construction sites around the world in an ambition to capture the instability, energy, beauty and hope – he sees as intrinsic within these sites.

Hiroyuki Suzuki

TJ: How and why did you get interested in this style of photography?
Suzuki: I shoot pictures of buildings, not people. However, my pictures can tell people there was a process that went into the history of a building, and there were people involved in the development and timeline of the building. Although very few of my pictures have people in them, it is my hope that people, who look at my pictures, see that people were involved in the creation of that building or thing.

My sensitivity is very sharp for seeing a picture perfect moment and I can see when 1 +1 = 3 very quickly. In 2006, I instantly captured the moment for a striking picture of a bridge being built where the opposite sides were created, but the middle joining piece was missing. I like to photograph very unusual or shocking moments like that. It’s like making a documentary movie and I feel like I’m like a war journalist. For example, if I see a bridge being built while driving to work in the morning, I know it might look very different when I go back home at night, so I have to quickly react to photograph it as soon as possible.

建築の瞬間

TJ: この撮影スタイルにこだわるようになった いきさつは?
スズキ: 私は人でなく建物の写真を撮ります。 でも私の写真は、建物の歴史を物語る移り変わ りがあり、建物の発展と来歴に関わった人たち がいたことを、見る人に語りかけることができ ます。私の写真に人間が写りこむことはほとん どないのですが、わずかな例外の場合も、その 建物やモノの創造に関わった人であることを感 じてもらえればと思います。

写真についての完璧な瞬間に対する私の感性は 非常に鋭く、1+1 が3 になる瞬間を即座に見 極めることができます。2006 年には、建設中 の橋の決定的瞬間をとらえました。両側が作 られていて中央の結合部分が欠けた格好の橋で した。私は、そうした普通でない、あるいは衝 撃的な瞬間を撮影したいのです。ドキュメンタ リー映画の制作に通じるところもあり、従軍 ジャーナリストのような気がしています。たと えば、朝の通勤途中に建設中の橋を見かけたと します。夜、家に帰る頃には全く違う光景に

Chavez and the World

Written by  |  Published in Haitian Culture & Politics

IN October 1999, after only eight months in office, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a state visit to Japan. I had the honor of meeting him at The Foreign Correspondent’s Club in Tokyo after he gave a speech that remains engraved in my memory. He shared with the diplomatic corps and journalists his discussion with the Emperor of Japan who had asked him how a country as rich in natural resources as Venezuela can have 80% of its population living under the poverty line. Chavez confessed that while he welcomed the Emperor’s concern, he was not expecting such a question from him.

The Emperor pinpointed the dilemma Chavez faced all his life: a huge disparity between the rich and the poor. How can it be that Venezuela’s vast natural resources could only benefit the elite? How can such a trend be reversed after plaguing his country for so long? How could anybody convince the country’s privileged class that it is in their interests that the fundamental rights of all Venezuelans are respected? Is it acceptable that foreign companies control 95% of the petroleum reserves of his country?

Movie Subtitling: Natsuko Toda

Written by  |  Published in Translation & Subtitling

Interview series with Japan’s most renowned translator of foreign films and interpreter for Hollywood stars, Natsuko Toda.

TJ: Can you tell us about how you got started in your career?
Toda: I saw a lot of movies in my school days, and I absolutely loved them. After graduating from Tsuda College, I visited Japanese subtitling pioneer Shunji Shimizu to ask about working in the field of movie subtitling. He said mastering the skill was difficult and there weren’t many opportunities for work in the field. But, I was not discouraged. I chose a non-film industry related job and began working at Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Company in the Hibiya area of Tokyo. However, I didn’t abandon my passion for movies. Pretty soon I quit Dai-Ichi Life and began working part-time jobs as a translator. I did all kinds of translations including industrial manuals, magazine articles and books. Eventually, I began doing movie-related translations and dictation for Shimizu sensei, and through this relationship, I was offered the opportunity to interpret at a press conference. It was almost 10 years after I graduated from college before I had the opportunity to be offered the job of subtitling for a Francois Truffaut movie and I was fortunate to have Shimizu Sensei provide advice during that time in my career.

Hiroyuki Suzuki Photo Exhibit Interview #1

Written by  |  Published in Tokyo Photography

Hiroyuki Suzuki's camera lens has taken him to construction sites around the world in an ambition to capture the instability, energy, beauty and hope – he sees as intrinsic within these sites.

Hiroyuki Suzuki

TJ: How did you first get interested in photography?
Suzuki: I first became interested in photography 50 years ago when I was in the 5th grade of elementary school and was given a Konica Camera as a present. At the time I was also interested in painting. I was in Yaizu in Shizuoka Prefecture, which is a port city, so I often painted boats. Normally, people paint a boat in the center of a picture, but from the beginning I would use a non-standard composition. I might paint 2 boats in the painting, but for example, only part of one boat would be on left side of the painting and part of the other boat would appear on the right side of the painting, with a gap between the boats. It was not the usual focal point for a picture. I often use this same approach in my photos.

TJ: How would you describe your style of photography?
Suzuki: I wouldn’t say I have a specific style. I like to capture the moment. I play soccer, and I learned that if you want to score, you need to seize opportunities, and that’s what I do in my photography. In black and white photos, composition and light are important. I don’t need any colors. In my photos, the composition of my pictures is like my original style of paintings, and is not like that of other photographers.



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