I was born in Miami. And though I was raised quite far from here, I love returning. I love getting off the plane and feeling that gush of humid air hit me as the beach and rum cocktails summon me. I love the relationship I have with my family here now. It wasn’t easy to come by. In fact it’s an ongoing lesson of unconditional love, forgiveness, openness, and willingness. I’ve watched my biological parents- who did not raise me and never married (each other) grow older together and find ways to care about me as an adult that make me as happy as I believe my child self would have been. My daughter has a closeness to them unencumbered by any of that conscious knowledge or feelings of separation.
So, I love coming here and bringing her with me. I love staying in my small room in their home that they make nice just for us. I love sipping on Barbancourt with my father as I hear stories about their immigration to the states -I get new details every time. And I love sleeping in only to spend the majority of my days running errands with my mother all around Miami snapping photos all along of the quietest images. The Miami far from tourism yet very close to Haiti, Jamaica & Cuba.
As luck has it- Art Basel planted itself down in Miami in between the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday. With that comes a combined visit of family, business, art, and fun as it gets more popular every year attracting my peers in film, music, and visual arts. This year I’m showing work at the Yeelen Gallery. My film FLORIDA WATER will screen alongside an installation dealing with family rituals that I have remembered and imagined – reconstructing them as I play my own mother in the story. I worked with dear friend Arthur Jafa who shot the film and a great cast of Haitian actors in Los Angeles. I knew that I needed 5 red gowns to make this project a reality, and I found all of them in one trip to a Goodwill – in all the right sizes- which I took as a very good sign that I was on the right track. Jamila Glass handled the heavy lifting of the edit – I only fine tuned in the end, and it’s premiere screening was at the Papillion Art Gallery in August 2014. It then screened in Florence Italy last June and now next week here in Miami – Little Haiti to be exact – with the community that I made it for.
Wednesday December 2 at 130pm is an artist talk/conversation with Michelle Papillion moderated by Nerissa Street. And the opening reception/party is Saturday December 5 at 10pm. Both at YEELEN GALLERY in Little Haiti/Miami