Tessalines et Moi exhibition opened at French Institute in Haiti

Publié le 2016-02-25 | lenouvelliste.com

On February 17th, Tessa Mars’s exposition, titled “Tessalines et Moi” opened at the French Institute in Haiti. According to Mars, “The object of this series of paintings and drawings done in residence in Port of Spain is Tessalines,” my alter ego. This character is a naked woman who shares my morphology but has attributes of her own. Her skin is covered with scales, she wears a general's hat with horns and overturned sunglasses, all of which relate to the history and traditions of the country. It is a representation of my inner world, and I use it to explore a fantasy of absolute freedom of expression and identity.” “In these images, Tessalines explores her environment and reacts to what she discovers with humor or outrage, as if building her own history, her own individuality. It allowed me to articulate my experience in Trinidad and Tobago and assimilate the culture that I discovered. What you see here is the beginning of a process of reflection on the construction of a personal legend and on the relationship between the individual, his land and his culture of origin," said Mars in a previous interview about her recent work. Mars uses the twenty paintings to highlight the glorious past of Dessalines, ancestry, and a few intimate scenes that tell the story of a childhood rape. She uses a pig as a metaphor, a symbol of uncleanliness. Through these paintings, the story progresses as the little girl is transformed into a heroine, Tessalines, who manages to behead the pig that defiled her. The French Institute in Haiti is located at 99, rue Lamartinière, Bois Verna. The works will be displayed until February 29th. By Kristine Belizaire

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