622, Blvd Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Port-au-Prince


Download English Program
Download Kreyol Program
Download French Program


Artists start arriving from 27th Nov 2015

Screenings and performances from 14th – 20th December, 2015

Ghetto Biennale exhibition 18th – 21st December, 2015

Ghetto Biennale Congress 20th December, 2015


Go to artist list


Andre Eugene (HT)
Co-founder of Ghetto Biennale, Curator

Cat Barich (DE)
Curator (Site logistics, artist liason)

Claudel Casseus (HT)
Curator (Onsite management)

Evel Romain (HT)
Curator (transport and logistics)

Lazaros (US)
Curator (Images, website admin, press, film screening management)

Leah Gordon (GB)
Co-founder of Ghetto Biennale, Curator

Liz Woodroffe (GB | BB)
Curator (Graphic Design, Social Media)

Maccha Kasparian (FR)
Curator (Site mapping)

Contact curatorial team

KREYÒL, VODOU and the LAKOU : Forms of Resistance

After the Haiti Revolution, the formerly enslaved peasants had three tools for their ‘counter-plantation’ position; the Kreyòl language, the Lakou system and the belief-system and ritual practices of Vodou, a triumvirate of linguistic, territorial and cultural resistance. Laurent Dubois, writing in ‘Haiti: The Aftershocks of History’, notes that, ‘thanks to a remarkably strong and widely shared set of cultural forms – the Kreyòl language, the Vodou religion, and innovative ways of managing land ownership…- they built a society able to resist all forms of subjection that recalled the days of slavery.’

The language of Kreyòl, which was born in the colonial plantations, began as a basic and rough method of linguistic communication between the culturally and geographically diverse populations of the colony. After the slaves revolt Kreyòl became a language of resistance and retreat from the metropolitan state, which continued to use French as the lingua franca of power and capital in Haiti.

Vodou is a creolised religion forged by African slaves and their descendants which is comprised of elements from a wide range of diverse religious practices including many African traditions from the Fon, Dahomean, Kongo, Yoruba, and other African ethnic groups; Christianity and of the indigenous Taino Indians who were the original inhabitants of the region. As Dubois comments, ‘As they suffered together through the trauma of plantation life, Africans and creoles developed their own rituals of healing, mourning and worship.’

The Lakou is a sub-altern land management system in the rural provinces of Haiti which refers to clusters of houses around a yard which house extended and multi-generational families, forms of land management, ownership, co-operative labour and trade practices which attempted to resist the return to the plantations. As Dubois wrote, ‘In order to preserve that control, the Lakou system established its own set of customs to regulate land ownership and land transfers. The state had no part in these transactions, which were overseen entirely by community and family institutions.’

Enquiries & questions contact: Leah Gordon at Leahgordon@aol.com