The World Stage: Haiti is the latest chapter in Kehinde Wiley’s global survey of countries and their respective cultures. As with previous installments of The World Stage, Wiley examines a nation’s socioeconomic conditions and culture through the everyday lives of its people, always in the context of the issue of advancing globalization.
In previous World Stage iterations, Wiley conducted his castings on the streets. With The World Stage: Haiti, he employed a different approach specific to the culture: open calls on the radio, posters around the streets of Jacmel, Jalouise and Port-au-Prince culminating in beauty pageants. Haiti’s rich and varied religious traditions, as well as its traditional crafts and decorative arts, inform Wiley’s modern chronicle of life and culture. The backgrounds of the paintings incorporate images of vegetation found on Haiti such as okra, brought first to the island from Africa, and sugarcane, a food product that was broadly exploited as a cash crop during slavery.