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Art Basel Exhibition Shows Haitian Soul

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Haiti Art Expo 2011(Source: PRNewsFoto/Capponi Group)

Haiti Art Expo 2011(Source: PRNewsFoto/Capponi Group)

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MIAMI (CBS4) – While the art community and South Florida residents gather for Art Basel events on Miami Beach, Wynwood and the Design District, there is one exhibit which carries the soul of a shaken community.

This satellite exhibit is called The Haiti Art Expo. The exhibit located at the Moore Building in the Design District, features pieces by Haitian artists some of which died in the January 2010 earthquake.

One of the creators, Michael Capponi, made a name for himself in the 90’s by promoting South Florida nightclubs. He later overcame a heroin addiction. Now a developer and promoter, Capponi wants his legacy to be rebuilding Haiti.

Since the earthquake, Capponi has been to Haiti nearly 50 times.

“It was such a horrible thing that had such an impact on me,” said Capponi. “No way I could come back and just get patted on the back, like great job, you’re a hero, forget about it.”

Capponi is working to create a tourism redevelopment project in Jacmel, a town known for its artists.

He founded Haiti Art Expo to share Haitian art with those at Art Basel.

The opening reception is Thursday night, but the expo will have events through Sunday, Dec.4th.  All items are for sale, ranging between $100 to $20,000. The money raised by sales will go towards helping the people of Haiti.

The curator of Haiti Art Expo, Michele Frisch, was in Port Au Prince when the earthquake struck.

To her, the exhibit signifies the rebirth of Haiti.

Frisch said with tears in her eyes, “Art is my life. And we’ve been through a lot. But I’m happy today that it’s going to be rebuilt and we have a lot of hope.”

Capponi hopes the exhibit becomes an annual tradition during Art Basel.

“I think through years and years, you overcome things, you realize why you’re on the planet, what your duty is here. Really what it all comes down to,” Capponi said.

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