My Heart Won’t Let You Go: A Photographer’s View of Haiti

22 04 2011

A naked boy smiles with a joy usually elicited from children being rewarded with candy. But in this photo, there aren’t any sugar treats, just this child walking down the streets of Cité Soleil, Haiti, hand-in-hand with an American soldier. This photo – taken by Miami Herald’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Patrick Farrell – is one among many images for sale at the “My Heart Won’t Let You Go” fund-raising exhibit taking place at the AE District space, 3852 N. Miami Ave. The collection will remain open to the public till May 28. During this time, 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit Ayikodans – a Haitian dance school severely damaged in the earthquake.

Photo taken by Patrick Farrell

“A lot of the images that I shot are hard to look at,” said Farrell. “But some of these things you can’t turn your back at.” Farrell won a Pulitzer for Breaking News in 2009 for his coverage in Haiti following the hurricanes that ravaged the country in 2008.

It was only a few months ago when gallery owner Max Pierre approached him about displaying his photos as art. Farrell admits he was hesitant at first. His photos weren’t intended to be showcased at a gallery. After learning all the money raised would directly benefit the people of Haiti, he accepted.

“That’s all he had to say, really,” said Farrell.

A total of 44 photographs are on display in the Design District. Some images dance on the edge where beauty and innocence kiss reality. Such is the case in the photo of school girls – dressed in crisp clean pink and white dresses – attending class under a tarp. Other photos are heart-wrenching scenes taken after the earthquake.

“I wanted an honest photo exhibit from a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer’s view,” said  Pierre who was born in Haiti. He knows the images can be difficult to view, but that’s no reason to ignore to truth, he says. “The reality is it’s still really bad out there.”

Both Pierre and Farrell recognize that the news about Haiti has begun to roll off the front page. This exhibit reminds the community help is still needed.

“I’m happy to be able to have a platform to showcase great work,” Pierre said while enjoying one of the receptions taking place at the gallery. It’s the reason he’s donated his space till May 28th to raise awareness about Haiti and funds for Ayikodans. (Click here to purchase tickets to the upcoming Ayikodans performance taking place at the Adrienne Arsht on May 22)

AE District
Address: 3852 N. Miami Ave., Miami, FL 33127
Contact: 305-571-5122

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from noon till 6 p.m. and on Saturday by appointment.

Upcoming Events: AE District will hosts events during the Design District Art Walk on May 14, from 7-10 p.m. A closing reception will occur on Saturday May 28, from 7 to 10 p.m. Both events are open to the public.

About Ayikodans:

Ayikodans is a well-known dance school that was established in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1987. The Dance Company has performed on stages in Latin America, Europe, the United States and Asia, performing at such venues as Palacio de Bellas Artes in the Dominican Republic, The Netherlands’ Tropentheater, The Foundation Tokyo Ballet in Japan, Rose Hall in Jamaica and Teatro Anayansi in Panama.

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