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About Mirlande

Mirlande Jean-Gilles is a Haitian-American writer and visual artist. Her award winning fiction and poetry have been published in the literary journals, anthologies and online. In 2012 she was selected to be a “Bearden 100” in collaboration with The Romare Bearden Foundation. Her vibrant collages have recently been exhibited at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland as part of their Caribbean History Month celebration-2012&2013. She was part of the group exhibition; “Cover to... more

Tent City Neighborhoods

All over the world people are becoming refugees in their own land. They have been displaced by war, famine and natural disasters. Millions driven from homes must make shelter with tents, tarps and blankets.

They have to remake their lives with donated food, water and clothing. It is happening in Somalia, in the Congo, in Syria and in the Phillipines, in Haiti and in the United States.

In Haiti the earthquake of 2010 killed over 300,000 people. It destroyed millions of homes. Plastic tarps and tents were given to the citizens to make shelter. Four years after the earthquake, many still call a tent their home.

  • Tent City

    21" by 48" Collage. I created this collage after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Over 300,000 dead. Millions injured. Millions of homes destroyed. In my own feelings of shock, sadness and helplessness of the situation I created this collage. The Women look out at the vast tent city so much is needed. When night comes tent cities become the darkest of dark. There are no street lights or any lights except moon and stars. When night comes the predators emerge and prey on the innocent. The Light Bringer brings lights for the people.
  • Tent City #3 Going On Despite the Rubble

    Collage 8 1/2 x 11 on poasterboard I made this collage 3 years after the earthquake. There is progress but there are still tents, still rubble and possibly still dead buried under debris.
  • Home Bringer

    Detail of the Tent City collage. The basket woman brings homes to those living under tarps and tents held together by sticks and twine in the tent cities. The new houses will have solid floors where rain water cannot flood. A roof to keep the tropical sun at bay, a window to let in a breeze and a door for the privacy we all need.
  • Tent City-Detail

    In this Tent City Neighborhood the water is poisoned by the waste of the military that was sent to protect them. Do you see the skull not so hidden amongst the living? There are human wolves who prey on the innocent. Can you find the stalking wolf? In the tent city everyone works. Even the elders balance baskets brimming with bounty.
  • Rue de Jardin (Garden Street)

    Collage and watercolor. 14" x 11" on paper I created this collage two years after the 2010 earthquake. Though they are still in tents, the people of the city have created businesses, they cook and share meals, they keep beautiful gardens and grow flowers and food.

Basket Women

The Basket Women series is inspired by the absolute beauty, strength, tenacity and power of the Haitian women of the market, the women who go up and down Haiti's hills with their livelihood balanced gracefully on their heads.

My grandmother was a market woman. Planting and picking crops and then going to the market to haggle and sell her vegetables and rice.

My grandmother was a powerful woman whose husband died prematurely and she was left to care for their six children. My grandmother not only made a way but he family was able to thrive because of her hard work.

Mother and Child

These collages were inspired by the fabulous movement between mother and child. It is a daily, beautiful dance.

There is so much work to do as a mother. Children are demanding. But it is also colorful, being a mom is fun and silly. Sometimes you get to see the world through the kalidescope eyes of your children.

Environmental Shifts

My goal in these collages was to remove the person from their original environment and make them larger than life. I also wanted to elevate them to God/Goddess status. I gave them control over the elements, over their environments.

Back when I first starting doing collages in the 90's I loved looking through National Geographic magazine, but sometimes amongst the amazing photos there were also stories of human suffering, and alot of them were women and children. I wanted to change what I saw and I created new stories for them in my own way.

Star People

It is said we are all made of stardust. In this collection I've created people and landscapes made out of deep space and planets.

Connect with Mirlande

Mirlande's Curated Collection

View Mirlande's favorite works from other Baker Artists