The World Stage: Haiti, 2015


Pages: 64
English and Haitian Creole
Format: Hardcover
Size: 8.75 x 11.25 x 0.3 inches
Text: M. Cynthia Oliver, PhD, Mike Rogge
Publisher: Roberts & Tilton
Distributed by D.A.P.



€40.00




The World Stage: Haiti, 2015

The latest in the World Stage series of portraits by Kehinde Wiley (born 1977), this volume presents 13 new paintings, the result of the artist's trip to Haiti a nation that is often presented as a place of chronic poverty, corruption and deprivation. In Haiti Wiley actively went looking for beauty, staging pageants to cast his portrait subjects and advertising with open calls on the radio and posters put up in the streets of Jacmel, Jalouise and Port-au-Prince.

Wiley worked within the tradition of pageant culture native to the Caribbean but also subverted it, choosing his winners at random. The paintings draw on the artistic traditions of France and Spain (the colonial rulers of Haiti before the Haitian Revolution), as well as Haiti's varied religious traditions and local crafts, creating a composite portrait of contemporary Haiti through its people, history and culture.

Text by M. Cynthia Oliver, PhD, Mike Rogge. This publication accompanies the exhibition Kehinde Wiley The World Stage: Haiti at Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California (September 13 - October 25, 2014.)

Kehinde Wiley

Los Angeles native and New York based visual artist, Kehinde Wiley has firmly situated himself within art history’s portrait painting tradition. As a contemporary descendent of a long line of portraitists, including Reynolds, Gainsborough, Titian, Ingres, among others, Wiley, engages the signs and visual rhetoric of the heroic, powerful, majestic and the sublime in his representation of urban, black and brown men found throughout the world.

By applying the visual vocabulary and conventions of glorification, history, wealth and prestige to the subject matter drawn from the urban fabric, the subjects and stylistic references for his paintings are juxtaposed inversions of each other, forcing ambiguity and provocative perplexity to pervade his imagery.

Wiley’s larger than life figures disturb and interrupt tropes of portrait painting, often blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation and the critical portrayal of masculinity and physicality as it pertains to the view of black and brown young men.

Initially, Wiley’s portraits were based on photographs taken of young men found on the streets of Harlem. As his practice grew, his eye led him toward an international view, including models found in urban landscapes throughout the world – such as Mumbai, Senegal, Dakar and Rio de Janeiro, among others – accumulating to a vast body of work called, “The World Stage.”

The models, dressed in their everyday clothing most of which are based on the notion of far-reaching Western ideals of style, are asked to...

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