“This is it,” he says, pointing to a modest cabin bag and patting me on the back he says, “Find it difficult to recognize you. But your dad told me that a boy with the red shirt will receive you at the airport. I had last seen you when you were…
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He will be with us in Houston, for two days. The conference venue is at Richmond.”
On the conclusion of the first day of the seminar, at my insistence, Paul uncle gives a brief introduction about his art. “The sponsoring UNO agency has made all the arrangements for my boarding and lodging. I dislike the ambience of staying in a 5 Star hotel. I eat simple home food. I live with my three children and we have an ancestral house in a two acre plot in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince.”
“My children are married, and we live as a joint family. My two sons are not interested in this vocation and the eldest one takes limited interest in this art which is full of intricacies.” But in general, Paul gives lots of information on the copper-art and the present condition of art in Haiti. “Many traditional art-forms of Haiti are dying a slow death with no appreciation of genuine art and lack-luster approach of the Government authorities. Materialistic civilization has impacted life in all the segments of life. People have lost love for art. By pursuing this as art as a vocation, it is difficult to eke out a living….my children are right perhaps to pursue alternative careers, where there is money. My second son has already migrated to Australia. ”
I visit him after 5 years. His house is on a hillock in the distant suburbs of Haiti. He has problems in recognizing me but with the mention of “Houston,” he embraces me. We speak a lot about Haiti art and his copper plates and pitchers in particular. He shows some of his centuries-old family collections of pitchers. When I tell him that “Traditional Art of Haiti” is one of my subjects that I teach at the college level, he is greatly fascinated.
After twelve years, I get the second opportunity to meet Paul at Haiti. This time, I was leading a group of college students from Houston, on
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