Now that we finally have clean drinkable water, I can sign my mural!” Patrick Vilaire / sculpture, muralist
The artist/sculptor Patrick Vilaire, whose work I’ve admired at a very young age (I was drawn to reproduce his abstract metal bird on paper, when I took art classes at the Centre d’Art du Musée St Pierre) has been involved in a long-term project to provide necessary basic infrastructure to the community of Bois Jalousie in Pétion-Ville. Little did I know, Vilaire would open a path for me to explore the combination of art, architecture and urbanism in Haiti. The project of Bois Jalousie started in 2000. Patrick was commissioned to work on a ceramic mural in Bois Jalousie and participated in the project of providing clean drinkable water to the community. As a matter of fact, the 30 meter long mural leads to the source of water where many Jalousie-inhabitants can get water for only 1 Gourde the Bucket. Patrick explained to me that before this system, the young girls would have to fetch water far away, very early in the morning, and were often victims of rape.
When I arrived to Bois Jalousie with Patrick Vilaire, it was amazing to see how much the community appreciated him. Everybody recognized him and the chattiest couldn’t help but call after him “enjenyè! enjenyè!”
There is a building at the entrance of the neighborhood, which also holds a cyber-café and ceramic studio for murals to be carried on in other neighborhoods. All those spaces were kept clean and under the surveillance of a neighborhood committee.
It was an interesting experience walking through the narrow paths of this very lively community. Of course I could see the poverty, yet there was a sense of community that I never really captured when I drove by other poor neighborhoods. That’s when I also realized that I ‘drove’ through the outskirts of such communities and never really walked through them…
Photo ci-dessus tiré du document:
Évaluation du projet | Les Villes : gestion des transformations sociales et de l’environnement – UNESCO | Le Projet Jalousie : « développement intégré d’un bidonville haïtien »: http://www.unesco.org/most/evaluationvillesjal.pdf
Document in English: http://www.unesco.org/most/dp54merklen.pdf
There is also a documentary produced by the film-maker Arnold Antonin on this project: Beauté Contre Pauvreté
Haiti Villes-Monde sur France-Culture: Bois Jalousie et Patrick Vilaire à 45:00