Guy Régis Jr. One month after being known in that island
Guy Régis Jr. (b. 1974), an award-winning director, playwright, actor, poet, and video artist, was raised in Liancourt, in the north of Haiti, and now lives in Port-au-Prince. In 2001, he founded Nous Theatre, a contemporary experimental Haitian performance company. Between 2012 and 2013, with the support of the European Union, he directed! Migrants, a series of large-scale artistic workshops throughout Haiti with international creators. From 2012 to 2014, he was the director of drama at the National Arts School of Haiti. He now serves as executive director of Association Quatre Chemins, an organization that aims to renew and develop Haiti’s living arts through an annual theater festival, artistic residency programs for drama outside the boundaries of Port-au-Prince, and programs focused on children’s and students’ access to drama throughout Haiti. Régis’s plays, novels, and theater works have been translated into multiple languages and have toured internationally.
ON VIEW: Trete pou lapè lavi diran, 2020
Some experts from Brian Fee’s interview with Guy Régis Jr..
Q: How would you describe the work you are showing in this exhibition?
A: It is a sound piece based on a treaty. Sound is a medium I have been using more and more recently. Recently, I produced Mr. President, which I would describe as a poetic, aesthetic video. But I always work with a range of different media. For me, the different arts offer different means of expression. I don’t see them hierarchically. There is not one form that I consider to be higher or lower than another. There are just various channels for conveying my feelings and ideas. Through writing, I become a creator of ideas. An image can intervene to show that idea. And theater allows me to embody the idea in the present. It is, therefore, not at all a derogation to present this work as something to which we all must listen. I could have brought it face-to- face on a stage, or in video creation, etc. Sound was the form that felt right for this particular expression.
Q: In your truly interdisciplinary practice—you are a theater director, playwright, poet, author, filmmaker, video artist—you work with many creative people and with the community at large. What do collaboration and engagement mean to you?
For twenty years, I have been a stage director. Theater work involves a collective, the active participation of others as a group. It involves exchanges with actors, technicians, audiences. I need collaboration—a real, personal implication by each individual in all activities—from everyone to make it succeed. As for engagement, I see it as the foundation of all art. It’s fundamental. I create to make a statement, to affirm, to denounce, to describe the world around me. If I weren’t engaged with the world, I would not create. It would not be necessary. An artist is engaged from the moment he makes the decision to create. And for me, engaging with other creatives and with the broader community is about questioning the notion of whether art is useful. The world can be hostile to artists. Artists are disparaged, considered futile or fanciful by some. By collaborating with other creatives and with the broader community, we build unity in showing the value of art in this capitalist world that seems so interested in material goods.
To explore the other artists on view, click here.
To view the exhibtion One month after being known on that island, click here.