Sunday, July 10, 2011

Julie Dermansky's Haiti at the Ogden Museum


It has been said that “history is written by the victors,” but what if there is too much history and no victors? Last year started with a bang as a huge earthquake hit Haiti and dominated the headlines until the massive Gulf oil spill, and then storms, fires, tsunamis, tornadoes, wars, revolutions and yet more earthquakes, happened in quick succession. Yet the earthquake in Haiti, which shares a common history with New Orleans, was staggering in scope, and this selection of images by Nola-based photographer Julie Dermansky captures not only the overwhelming chaos, but also the extraordinary resilience of the Haitian people. In January of 2010, Dermansky made her way there to try to find an old friend, an arts activist that she later learned had perished in the quake. She remained to document the plight of the Haitian people, and while her images convey the apocalyptic nature of the destruction--in the rubble that is all that remains of the national cathedral,   below, the presidential palace and other massive buildings

where mangled human limbs still protruded from the rubble--they also capture the stoic dignity, endurance and irrepressible spirit of the Haitians themselves. Much media disaster coverage tends to be generic and Haiti often appears hopeless, but Dermansky's cool, compassionate eye reveals a remarkably stoic if vivacious people whose true potential has never really been tapped. Yet if these people have endured so much misery for so long and are still capable of hope, who are we to doubt them? ~Bookhardt
On July 13, from 6—8pm, the Ogden will host HAITI: AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE, a panel discussion moderated by WWOZ's George Ingmire. Featuring New Orleans cultural community activists who were there after the quake, the panel includes Dermansky, journalist Michael Deibert, WWOZ's Maryse Déjean, Haitian Association for Human Development president Dr. Yvelyne Germain-MacCarthy, Ogden curator/photographer Richard McCabe, Tekrema Center founder Greer Mendy and Loyola University's Dr. Jean Montés. Call 539-9650 for more information. HAITI AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE: Photographs by Julie Dermansky, Through July 24, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., 539-9600,