2016 Jacmel, Haiti
“Wanganegess” (Hummingbird) Mural
“Trumpet Flower” Mural
“Flight” Mural (2-mural diptych)
Design and project facilitation by Laurel True
Production by young adults from the Jacmel Mozaik Program at Art Creation Foundation for Children and their leader, Georges Metellus in partnership with True Mosaics Studio and Guest Artists: Rochelle Rose-Schueler and Nicole Bertolini Weeks
In January 2016, I was invited by internationally known mosaic muralist, Laurel True to be a guest artist to assist her in facilitating the creation and installation of four large-scale 12’ x 9’ tile murals in the entry of Hospital St Michel in Jacmel, Haiti.
Built in 1954, the St Michel Hospital in Jacmel was the only public hospital in Haiti’s South-East department. It was heavily damaged in the January 2010 earthquake and reconstruction was crucial. The Canadian Red Cross re-constructed the new state-of-the-art hospital in harmony with its surroundings and is both earthquake- and cyclone-resistant and serves a population of over 500,000.
Just after the earthquake, Laurel True joined up with Jacmel’s Art Creation Foundation for Children (ACFFC) to create a memorial mural in Jacmel. Over the next two and a half years, True traveled to Haiti more than 25 times, teaching youth between the ages of 12 and 22 how to create mosaics as part of a mosaic program she developed through ACFFC (Jacmel Mozaik). Creating mosaics gave the youth a way out of poverty by teaching them practical life skills. The youth have been commissioned to create mosaics by the City of Jacmel, the Ministry of Tourism, and many private clients. Jacmel is becoming known as a tourist destination because of the mosaics. Proceeds from their projects go back to support the programs at ACFFC. The Canadian Red Cross commissioned True Mosaics and the Jacmel Mozaik program to create and install 4 large-scale murals to decorate the entry of the new St Michel hospital and make it a welcoming space for patients.
I was fortunate to work alongside these wonderful young and talented artists who were very disciplined and put their heart and soul into this project. As one of the teens quoted, “There’s never any contentment or joy in hospitals. We did these walls for the patients, so they can forget about their illnesses for a moment.”