Danse Folklorique

by Guidel Presume


From Soul in a Bottle by Madison Smartt Bell

Présumé had an easy, skillful hand which he could turn to any subject; he declared with a quiet confidence that he could paint "in all the styles," whatever he was asked to paint. Jean, a visual artist himself, asked Présumé if he didn't want to develop a personal style uniquely his, but Présumé didn't seem to really understand this question. Years later it occurred to me that if you were Haitian, maybe art was less about individual self-expression and aggrandizement of the artist's ego, and more about doing whatever work most needed to be done. 

But Présumé did have a style of his own, whether he thought it was important or not, and I remembered the paintings long afterward, and wished that I had one or two.