Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

Exchange of Culture (Between Indians and African Maroons)
  • Ulrick Jean-Pierre
    born 1955
    born: Roseaux, Haiti ; active: United States
  • Exchange of Culture (Between Indians and African Maroons), 2005
  • Where object was made: United States
  • oil on canvas
  • Frame Dimensions: 56 x 43 x 3 in
  • Private collection
  • On view: Long Ellis Gallery, 315, W1
  • EL2018.107
  • Loan: Not in the Spencer's collection
Label Text
Exhibitions

Exhibition Label:
"The Ties that Bind: Haiti, the United States, and the Art of Ulrick Jean-Pierre in Comparative Perspective", 08-Sep-2018
“My canvas is an open window of constant celebration that allows me to travel into the depths of the past, to bring pride to the present, as well as hope to the future.” – Ulrick Jean-Pierre
Here, a Taíno Indian and a Maroon slave play the drum. Interactions like this may have taken place in Maroon societies where surviving Natives and runaway slaves lived independently.
Through the visual exploration of this interaction, Jean-Pierre celebrates the Indigenous communities who lived in Haiti before colonization. The name “Haiti,” chosen by former slaves after
the revolution, is a Taíno word meaning “mountainous land.” By selecting a native word to represent their newly liberated country, these former slaves symbolically rebuked the colonial claims of Europe that sought to destroy the Taíno and enslave Africans.

Mobile App Exhibition Label:
"The Ties that Bind: Haiti, the United States, and the Art of Ulrick Jean-Pierre in Comparative Perspective", 07-Sep-2018
“My canvas is an open window of constant celebration that allows me to travel into the depths of the past, to bring pride to the present, as well as hope to the future.” – Ulrick Jean-Pierre
Here, a Taíno Indian and a Maroon slave play the drum. Interactions like this may have taken place in Maroon societies where surviving Natives and runaway slaves lived independently.
Through the visual exploration of this interaction, Jean-Pierre celebrates the Indigenous communities who lived in Haiti before colonization. The name “Haiti,” chosen by former slaves after
the revolution, is a Taíno word meaning “mountainous land.” By selecting a native word to represent their newly liberated country, these former slaves symbolically rebuked the colonial claims of Europe that sought to destroy the Taíno and enslave Africans.

Before France established a slave society on Saint-Domingue—the colony which would become the country of Haiti—the island was populated by the Taíno peoples. Christopher Columbus arrived on the island in 1492 and quickly established a relationship this group. However, tensions rose quickly and the relationship crumbled because of the colonists’ violent actions. The Spanish murdered the caciques, or chiefs, of the Taíno—including Anacaona, whose portrait also appears in this exhibition—and enacted genocide against the rest of the population.
Despite historic accounts claiming the complete extinction of the Taíno, many survived. The Taíno culture still exists today, which continues to challnege the dominant narrative of elimination. Although the survival of these indigenous peoples deserves to be celebrated, the terrible effects of colonization—cultural loss, genocidal destruction, and loss of sovereignty—must still be recognized.