Oath of the Ancestors | Serment des Ancêtres

Exhibition design around a painting which mobility through time and space constantly challenges our notion of freedom and cultural ownership. Le Serment des Ancetres by Guillaume Guillon Lethiere revealed the prominent French painter’s identity as a Mixed-race child of a French father and Guadeloupean mother. By sending the painting to Haiti in 1822, he showed his solidarity to the newly emancipated Black Nation, yet he rendered a white God sanctifying the Oath between Dessalines and Pétion, expressing personal struggle in looking for his French father’s recognition. This painting conveys many complex social layers also found in the Manoir Alexandra.

Below, schematic ideas as to how to interpret such exhibitions in the Manoir Alexandra

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Serment des Ancêtres, damaged during the earthquake and retrieved from the Haitian Presidential Palace. Today, the Serment des Ancêtres is exhibited at the Louvre Museum under a show titled “Les Musées sont des Mondes” … http://mini-site.louvre.fr/trimestriel/2011/3/index.html#/28

Black Content in a White Cube 

When the Modern confronts the Old … and when the governing voice…. is still the same

More Coming Soon 

Knocking on Heaven’s Door | La Mariée Oubliée


In the midst of the affectionate chatter of my maids of honor at the foot of the stairs, I proclaimed my thirst aloud. I would really like a glass of ice water.” […] Had someone foreseen my last-minute thirst?

Hadriana in All my Dreams | René Dépestre

When Hadriana wakes up from her state of coma, she knocks at all doors surrounding the Central Plaza. The night is torrential and her followers are getting closer to her. The city mourns her death but has now shut its doors.

But is the city solely comprised of her family the Siloés, the Krafts and the Catholic sisters who now ignore her? Hadriana’s image of purity was gone as soon as her body came out of the Church. People dancing the Rabòday around her to bring her back to life, have forever affected her innocence. Nobody around the plaza will answer to her calls because she is now no longer worth their recognition.

Early sketch

Below is a sketch illustrating how I wished to tackle issues of transparency with the Manoir Alexandra. When I started research for my thesis during the Summer of 2011, I was interested in using the Manoir as an accessible and progressive Town Hall.   I had begun altering the architecture of the mansion to provide more porches and public viewing access to the bay. Now, I am more inclined to keeping the aspect of the house in ruins, conserving memories of the aftermath of a catastrophe and its impact on the architecture of a place.

As I have learned in November 2011, that the Manoir Alexandra is becoming a cultural center and museum space, the goal is now to occupy its interiors, and most importantly its gardens, while perpetuating the narratives I wish to preserve in my thesis. 

During my happy life as a girl, there had always been three spaces- the inward garden, the exterior courtyard, and the Caribbean side. It was very warm in all of them.

Hadriana in All my Dreams | René Depestre

Lower Level Performance Space & Garden

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The first image of this slideshow is a modified Times Magazine photo of the interior of Haitian dancer Viviane Gauthier’s Gingerbread house in Turgeau, Port-au-Prince. The photo illustrated an atmosphere I wish to convey in the lower rooms of the Manoir Alexandra. This performance space would spill out to the garden.

Times Magazine Photo Essay: Haïti’s Gingerbread Houses