In Haiti, during the colonial era, the Freemasons were one of the few European institutions that allowed black membership. Freemasonry still thrives in contemporary Haiti, and its visual world pervades the Haitian imaginary. The symbols that recur throughout this exhibition once tethered a web of ideas that stretched across the Atlantic, encrypting the most precious values of the Enlightenment.
After many years of research and with unprecedented access, Leah Gordon’s photography offer a rare glimpse of Haiti’s urban middle class; exemplars of respectability in a world invisible to most foreign observers. Surveying these photographs reveals unexpected couplings: mysticism and civil society; secrecy and spectacle; solemnity and celebration; patriarchy and grace.
This exhibition aims to visualize the mesh of magic and reason; alchemy and science; trade and metaphysical exchange that has stretched into the 21st century. By focusing on Haiti, this exhibition sheds light on the relationship between colonized peoples and the Enlightenment. It suggests that for some, Freemasonry offered a path to becoming an agent of modernity, rather than its reviled ‘other’. This exhibition will be a timely and significant contribution to an understanding of Freemasonry through the lens of the Black Atlantic.
This exhibition is compiled by Leah Gordon and alongside her photography and photo-montage features original and commissioned works by Haitian, American and European artists Yves Delva, Ernest Dominique, Marg Duston, Andre Eugene, Lazaros, Michel Lafleur & Molej Zamour.
Panel Discussion: on Friday, June 22nd from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
107 Suffolk Street NY, NY 10002 USA
May 25, 2018 to June 23, 2018