Our cover this month, A dazzle of zebras by Fernand Pierre, sold for $2,100 at Bonhams Travel and Exploration auction on Feb. 6, 2019 in London. A native of Carrefour, one of the most infamous slums of Haiti located just a short distance from the nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince, Pierre began his career as a wood carver, fashioning small animals and other tchotchkes, which he likely sold on the city’s streets. He was discovered by the Centre d’Art, where he was able to continue his art studies.
Eventually, Pierre transitioned to painting and went on to become one of the founding fathers of naïve art in Haiti, which earned him worldwide recognition. He’s also one of five artists who worked on the famous murals of the St-Trinite Cathedral in Port-au-Prince.
In addition to nature themes, like the one featured on our cover, Pierre’s later works focused on voodoo imagery: Voodoo is a syncretic religion that originated in Haiti and involves rituals such as the worship of many different spirits. Despite the change in subjects, Pierre never strayed from the rudimentary style of naïve art. It’s these later works, often featuring colorful mermaids (which are recognized as strong female deities in the practice of voodoo) intertwined with images of nature, that are said to be most sought after by collectors.
They say a zebra can’t change its stripes, but according to Ashley Remmers’ article, “The Effect of Generational Changes on Family Businesses,” p. 53, shifts in family dynamics and culture over the last decades are forcing family businesses to get with the times and change the way they’re planning for the future. As Ashley’s article reveals, passing down a family business to the next generation is rarely as black and white as the zebras on our cover.