The Haitian art school Saint Soleil is a movement that emerged in the 1970s in the town of Soisson-La-Montagne, near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The name “Saint Soleil” translates to “Holy Sun” in French, and it represents the movement’s spiritual and mystical orientation.
Saint Soleil was founded by a group of artists who aimed to create a new style of Haitian art that combined modern lines with primitive features. The movement rejected the traditional Haitian art forms that were heavily influenced by European styles and sought to create a uniquely Haitian aesthetic that drew from the country’s rich cultural heritage.
One of the key features of the Saint Soleil movement was its focus on spirituality. The artists saw their work as a means of exploring the spiritual dimensions of Haitian culture and creating a bridge between the physical and the metaphysical worlds. The movement was also deeply influenced by vodou, the traditional Afro-Haitian religion that blends African and Catholic beliefs.
Several artists participated in the Saint Soleil movement, including Prospère Pierre-Louis, Dieuseul Paul, Levoy Exil, and Denis Smith. Each artist brought their own unique style to the movement, but they all shared a commitment to creating art that was deeply rooted in Haitian culture and spirituality.
Frantz Dorelus art is clearly influenced by the movement . Dorelus is known for his vibrant, colorful paintings in the abstract style. His work is deeply influenced by vodou, and he often depicts the loa (vodou spirits) in his paintings.
Gary Pierre is another artist who worked in the Saint Soleil style. Pierre is known for his intricate, highly detailed paintings that combined elements of Haitian and African art. His work often explored themes of transformation and metamorphosis, reflecting his interest in the mystical and spiritual dimensions of Haitian culture.
Joseph Benjamin is also a key figure in the same art wave. Benjamin’s paintings are characterized by their bold, geometric shapes and vivid colors. His work often depicted scenes from Haitian life and folklore, as well as religious and spiritual themes.
Despite its relatively short lifespan, the Saint Soleil movement had a significant impact on Haitian art and culture. Its emphasis on spirituality, cultural identity, and the fusion of modern and traditional art forms paved the way for a new generation of Haitian artists to explore their own cultural heritage and create unique, innovative works of art. And the artists that continued in the same style, such as Frantz Dorelus, Gary Pierre, and Joseph Benjamin, continued to push the boundaries of Haitian art and create work that was both deeply rooted in Haitian culture and reflective of the modern world.