When my father Jake was 43, he and my mother Betty took a trip to Haiti. It changed them forever. The people, the art, the music, the food and the culture had a profound impact on their lives, their work...and strangely enough, on me too.
Jake was instrumental in developing the Haitian art community not only in Haiti, but in the U.S. as well. My parents flew many of these Haitian artists up to Sheboygan and they lived with us...in our home! Painters, printers and sculptures including Antonio Joseph, Georges Liataud, Murat Brierre and others. My father taught them silk-screen printing, photography and even how to go about marketing/selling their work.
When I was 15, my father took me to Port-au-Prince Haiti and eventually to Cape Haitian where we rode horses up the mountain to the infamous Haitian Citadel.
It seems somewhat ironic that nearly 45 years later, the Leclerc Brothers at Jake’s Cafe would be commissioned to produce a documentary on the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti. They traveled many of the same roads and cities Jake and I traveled...but obviously under a completely different set of circumstances.
Phil and Chris Leclerc have excellently captured the spirit of these beautiful people in a short documentary called Mountaintop Memorial.
One this is painfully clear. These people will rise from the rubble and with them, a proliferation of art and creativity like nothing we’ve seen in years.