MAGNIN-A is delighted to present the first solo show in France of Haitian painter Shneider Léon Hilaire, Nou ak sa n pa wè yo - Nous et les Invisibles, curated by Régine Cuzin.
On January 1, 2024, Haiti celebrated the 220th anniversary of its independence, proclaimed on January 1, 1804. Since that date, the first black republic has paid dearly for the freedom that slaves boldly and courageously conquered. Haiti, under French domination, saw slavery abolished by the French Revolution in 1794, but Napoleon reinstated it in 1802. In the midst of this turbulent history, the Haitian people, battered by tragedies such as wars, earthquakes, epidemics and dictatorships, overcame these traumatic shocks with an admirable resilience and creativity, whether in literature, cinema, theater or the visual arts...
At a time when this Caribbean island has been destabilized by a serious political, social and economic crisis that has led to violence and insecurity, and has blighted the daily lives of Haitians, artistic creation and cultural initiatives continue unabated and remain incredibly lively. Presenting the work of a 33-year-old Haitian painter in Paris is unique, as too few contemporary artists living and working in Haiti and the Caribbean are currently given the spotlight.
Shneider Léon Hilaire's work is irrigated by the presence of voodoo, brought from Benin by enslaved Africans, and refers to society's relationship with death. In voodoo, beings don't die, they watch over and protect the living; the dead aren't dead, they're just invisible. Like a griot passing on memory, Shneider Léon Hilaire transcribes onto canvas the oral tradition of stories, tales and legends he has lovingly gathered from all over the country, rather like an anthropologist.