To help develop, market and present the work of Haiti artisans to the western world. As an ambassador to the preservation of Haiti’s artistry and expression, Donna Karan and a community of supporters have been traveling to Haiti at every opportunity, working one-on-one with the artists and manufacturers. “The artistry and skill is breathtaking,” Donna says. “I am so inspired by what I am seeing and the people with whom I’m working with. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Donna Karan was first introduced to Haiti by her inspiration, President Bill Clinton, and the Clinton Global Initiative. Instead of seeing the country’s devastation following the earthquake, Donna saw Haiti’s potential through the eyes of creativity and the spirit of its people. She immediately galvanized the design community and fashion world as part of her commitment to tell Haiti’s story through a new lens.
Her vision was to create a holistic community – mind, body and spirit – while preserving Haiti’s unique culture and working with artisans using indigenous resources. In 2011, Donna began collaborating with a handful of Haiti’s best artisans to design the Naturally Haiti Collection, as well as creating the Discover Haiti exhibition series with fashion photographer Russell James and Nomad Two Worlds.
The intersection of business and philanthropy that defined the Naturally Haiti Collection now serves as the model for what has become globally recognized as the Soulful Economy movement. The outcome of Donna’s investment in Haiti has raised massive awareness, created jobs, provided vocational education, and inspired others in the creative community to join the platform and bring even more opportunity to the developing world.
• DOT – Design, Organization, Training Center for Haiti Artisans (READ WWD ARTICLE)
• Cine Institute
• ENARTS Fine Arts School
• Creation of the Urban Zen Art Center at La Reference Village/PRODEV
• Paula Coles’s LIFE Vocational Training Center in Port-Au-Prince
• Development of new workspaces for Tobacco Leaf Artisans in Jacmel
INSPIRED BY THE ELEMENTS OF HAITI
Stone, wood, paper, metal, tobacco and horn are transformed by Haitian hand with artistry, refined through generations. The Haiti Artisan Project is dedicated to create a sustainability model of commerce to assist in financial supporting the art community of Haiti and thereby preserving the rich culture of the island.
Rich, earthy tobacco leaves sensuously wrap around the curves of vases.
Scraps of metal and rusted steel drums are transformed into works of beauty from accessories to tableaus that capture the essence of Haiti.
Honed by hand, stone is transformed into smooth works of artistry to compliment every environment.
Gritty patinas, vintage wood and handcrafted ironwork highlight crystal brilliance.
Recycled cardboard becomes necklaces and bracelets of glimmering beads while thousands of the smallest of beads are hand sewn for dramatic accents.
Cut and polished with an artist’s eye, each piece is distinct and unique as horn is crafted into luxurious accessories.
Bowls and tableware of resonate with the richness of wood and the beauty of hand made artistry.
Rich in Haitian heritage, paper mache masks and accessories turn paper into pleasure from vibrant and colorful masks to whimsical paper handbags.
SCULPTURE & PAINTING
Phillipe Dodard’s vision of contemporary Haitian artistry is captured in sculptures and on canvas.