The Spirit of Magloire
Project Proposal Summary
The Spirit of Stivenson Magloire: An Artistic Investigation
Stivenson Magloire (1963-94) was stoned to death in broad daylight on a Port-au-Prince street; the reasons for his unsolved murder have been a source of much speculation. During a January, 2015 trip to Haiti, Edouard Eloi, Rachel Hadas, Frantz Mennon, and I followed some investigative threads through recorded interviews, archival research, and deepening our knowledge of Magloire’s astonishing art, art which survives and transcends his death, in the places where it was created. Much of Magloire’s art and story remains in Haiti.
Statement of Need/Rationale
Although Haitian art has many admirers in North America, Magloire’s art remains less well known than it deserves to be, especially in the literary and academic communities, which would be among the chief audiences for the proposed work. When people hear Magloire’s story and above all see his art, they are inevitably excited and curious. This project pulls together threads of Haitian culture and politics, art history, human drama, and poetry in an elegant and accessible way.
Film projects are inherently interdisciplinary, experiential, and require the organization of experts in various fields. The core group in this project consists of a technical director, translator/guide, production manager, and writer. Each member of the team is currently volunteering time and using institutional and personal funds for travel expenses. I am the technical director able to record visuals and sounds, light sets, and be responsible for other details. The translator/guide served in this position during our last visit to Haiti. It is important to note that he has a long relationship with Haitian art and artists and sensitive to their cultural importance in Haiti. Co-Producer and Cameraman Edouard Eloi also continues to use his years of experience as a media activist and manager to schedule and support all aspects of production. Gorewitz and Eloi previously collaborated on The Last Tourist which was broadcast on PBS. Renowned poet, Rachel Hadas, a professor of English at Rutgers, is writing the script and will help conduct interviews. Her forthcoming poem in Poetry magazine inspired by her first exposure to Magloire’s work, ponders the painter’s distinctive visual language: “an iconography/written in a grisly alphabet/yet full of life, the haunting gaze direct,/transcending Death. Death had in winning lost./Art trumped death and life trumped art.” This group, with the support of Ramapo and Rutgers students will work collaboratively on edits and new investigative leads.
The Spirit of Stivenson Magloire will fuse styles and genres to investigate his life, death, and work. The French/Creole/English soundtrack will include interviews with artists, critics, friends, family, and curators about Stivenson. Magloire’s engagement with Voudon places him in a tradition explored by Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Deren, Selden Rodman, and others. It is time for a fresh, accessible look, at once poetic and scholarly, at Magloire’s tragically truncated career in its cultural context.
We’re living in a key cultural moment, when interest in Afro-Caribbean culture is at an all-time high at the same time that generic crossover in literature (poetry/memoir; narrative/analysis) is in the process of creating new forms. The Spirit of Stivenson Magloire will be a dynamic contribution to this cutting-edge development, as well as a furthering of my own increasing interest in putting the dead into cultural conversation with the living.
7) Budget Needs
We are seeking support for translation of French and Creole into English; English into French and Creole; audio enhancements; and a final short visit to Haiti with quick stops in Miami and Pittsburgh to complete interviews.
Any foundation support as well as help from individuals will be fully acknowledged in the film credits and all associated materials.