Edouard Duval-Carrié


Cargo Bounty






152 x 243 cm


Different media on aluminum. Frame made by the artista.

Credits: Courtesy of the artist Photograph: Carl Juste

Haitian-American painter Edouard Duval-Carrié often explores in his work the indigenous, European, and African cultural heritage of his homeland to create vernacular visual languages reflecting this identity mosaic. For many decades, Haiti’s economy depended almost entirely on the export market of natural resources such as bananas, coffee, and sugar. Those plantations depended on the forced labor of hundreds of thousands of enslaved people of African descent. The trafficking of enslaved people was also a significant source of income for the country. In addition, on the journey from the African continent to Europe, these people were often fed bananas, as this was the cheapest fruit. In Cargo Bounty, a man of African descent appears wearing bunches of fruit that cover his body to such an extent that his identity blends in with that of the plants. An extravagant necklace of banana leaves decorates his neck and refers to the predominant place occupied by this fruit in Haiti. The work recalls the aesthetics of the voodoo religion and brings to mind the stories of enslaved people hiding food in their clothes when they were forcibly transported from Africa to America. In Cargo Bounty, the almost total fusion between the man depicted and the fruit he carries suggests that both the people and the natural resources extracted from Africa by European settlers were treated as commodities.