By Ben Crandell, SouthFlorida.com
June 29, 2015
The exhibit “From Within and Without: The History of Haitian Photography,” opening Sunday, June 21, at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, uses a remarkable collection of images as a lens to examine the island nation’s rich, complex and often tragic history. But it begins with an unexpected wink.
In 1919, more than four years into a United States military occupation of Haiti that would last two decades, U.S. soldiers caught up to Charlemagne Péralte, a Haitian army officer who had been leading a resistance movement, and shot him dead.
The soldiers then strapped the body against a door and took a photograph of the lifeless Péralte. The picture was made into a handbill, which was then distributed around the country as a message to those who might take up his cause. But the image of Péralte slumped in an almost Christlike crucifixion pose had the opposite effect: Péralte became a martyr, the representation of his death an iconic inspiration for generations of Haitian artists to this day.
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