My name is Isack Kousnsky and I am a passionate artist and activist for Haiti. During the last several years I have made numerous trips to Haiti and created a body of work that captures the lives of real Haitians and the poverty that the earthquake left behind. I have actively involved myself in charity work in Haiti, particularly with the building of a sustainable bakery in the small rural village of Kaskou. With help from the community and Sheilyn and the Jones family, we were able to both distribute a staple food to the people of Kaskou and create jobs. The community's indebted response to our bakery made me realize the powerful effect and value a small, familiar item such as bread has on underprivileged citizens.
Our bread, essentially, became gold. With that vision, I created a reflection of this in my artwork, utilizing images in black and white and gold. I became interested in conveying the irony between the financial fortitude of Wall Street and the power of humanitarian efforts that I discovered in Haiti. During my visits to the earthquake refugee camps of Port-au-Prince, I was also struck by the similarities in the colors of the tents and the Jewish Tallit. To me, it seemed as if this infinity of tents had become a sea of Tallitot, crying to God for all the children born and living in the poverty of the camps. As an artist living among the extreme wealth of New York City, traveling to Haiti and closely witnessing the extreme poverty there, I felt an utmost disparity. I decided to create a further reflection of this in my artwork, collaging imagery of the privileged "golden" city of New York, a golden Wall Street Bull, the golden treasure of the freshly baked bread, and the refugee camp of Tallitot.
Here a stark comparison is drawn between the monetary gold of New York City and the "priceless" gold of the bread; the financial obsessions of New York and the intrinsic prayers to God in Haiti. In our privileged country, it is easy to throw billions of dollars towards financial institutions and big business, yet we find it so hard to realize a solution for those living in poverty among the refugee camps in Haiti. I believe Haiti could experience real change if we helped to organize sustainable small communities like the Kibbutzim in Israel. A Kibbutz could serve as a sustainable model for life in Haiti, encouraging living off the land and supporting each other in a collective community. What Haiti needs is not more money funneled through large organizations that offer little real aid to Haitians, but a real tangible solution.
561 Broadway, 4B
New York, NY 10012