2.11.2010

Trees for Haiti

It has almost been a month since the earthquake devastated Haiti. Here is the first of a series I am painting in honor of the 230,000 (+) people who lost their lives, and as a gesture of solidarity with the hundreds of thousands more people who are injured and/or left without a home.

How can I hope to make a dent in the overwhelming collective pain that Haiti has experienced?

I really do not know. I'm just painting some pieces and offering 100% of the sales to Partners in Health, the nonprofit medical relief organization that founded its first community clinic in Haiti in 1985
. I chose this organization because its co-founder, Jim Yong Kim, is currently president of Dartmouth College, where I spent four years as an undergraduate. From the Partners in Health website: "Zanmi Lasante ('Partners In Health' in Haitian Kreyol) is PIH’s flagship project – the oldest, largest, most ambitious, and most replicated. Today, ZL ranks as one of the largest nongovernmental health care providers in Haiti – and the only provider of comprehensive primary care, regardless of ability to pay, for more than half a million impoverished people living in the mountainous Central Plateau."

This first piece is called "Tree Fern for Haiti." It is a tree fern leaf, painted on a dictionary page that includes the entry "Haitian." This comes out of some research I've just started on the flora and fauna of Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere and one that is over 90 percent deforested.
I don't yet know how many tree ferns are still growing in Haiti, but I know they are an indigenous species. When I looked at the digital specimen image library of the Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin, I found this particular leaf shape as a specimen from Haiti.

This original watercolor painting is on sale in my Etsy Halflight shop for $35. The complete proceeds from the sale of this and following paintings from this series (Trees for Haiti) will go directly to Partners in Health, for their efforts there.

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