February 7, 1986 marked the 30 year anniversary of the fall of the brutal Duvalier dictatorship Haiti Cultural Exchangein Haiti. This dictatorship resulted in the exile and massive migration of Haitians to the United States, creating one of the largest Haitian Diaspora communities, many of whom are located in our home base of Brooklyn, New York. These individuals formed strong networks through the establishment of community groups, local media, and artist collectives. They built professional careers, raised families, and became an integral part of the fabric of New York City, while remaining tied to their country, its culture, and traditions.

This Spring, Haiti Cultural Exchange builds on our seven-year track record of creating innovative, inter-disciplinary, and dialogue-centered programming to present Selebrasyon! 2016: FREEDOM/LIBETE. This two-month festival of Haitian arts & culture brings together over thirty emerging, mid-career and established artists from Haiti and its vast Diaspora, who will present their work in a number of community and main-stage venues throughout NYC. The theme highlights the revolutionary spirit of the Haitian people, movements of resistance, and the ongoing opportunities and challenges of FREEDOM.

Through Selebrasyon!, artists and diverse communities come together to experience Haitian culture, its creative foundations, and its powerful legacy. I am thrilled that we are able to present Haiti-based artists such as Lakou Mizik, a collective of musicians bringing new
life into Haitian roots music; renowned author Yanick Lahens; and visual artist Nathalie Jolivert. We will also feature Boston-based Jean Appolon Dance Expressions’ ground-breaking piece on homophobia, Angaje and an exclusive sneak peak of Guetty Felin’s flm, Ayiti Mon Amour.

Selebrasyon! will also be a springboard for the inaugural cohort of our Lakou NOU Artist Residents — Sabine Blaizin, Shirley St. Fort Davilmar, Okai Fleurimont and Veroneque Ignace who will be creating community-based arts programming in four Brooklyn neighborhoods: Canarsie, Crown Heights, East Flatbush and Flatbush. We are thankful for the generous support of the many individuals, sponsors and partners who have joined us in this effort. Mèsi Anpil! We look forward to presenting Selebrasyon! 2016 and to bringing some of our most talented and pioneering artists to the forefront of
New York City’s cultural scene.

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