Since 2010, “Jerry” has become Haiti's most prominent graffiti artist. Dealing with the most sensitive issues of the day—disaster, insecurity, illiteracy, aid dependency, corruption, and poverty—he has canvassed Port-au-Prince and other cities with murals that invite compassion for his subjects and collective recognition of difficult social realities. This essay argues that the artistic modality and political sensibility displayed in Jerry's graffiti can be productively read as participating in a form of “sympathetic education.” Jerry sees the urban landscape as a classroom in which sympathy can be taught and his graffiti murals as instructive of a broader and more engaged public. By casting Jerry's oeuvre as a form of sympathetic education that draws on Haitian strategies for bringing people into affective and social accord, this essay elucidates his distinct style of graffiti and offers it as a model for public art.
Chelsey L. Kivland; Sympathetic Graffiti in Haiti: Jerry's Murals as a Scene of Pedagogical Curiosity. Small Axe 1 July 2017; 21 (2 (53)): 22–43. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-4156750
Download citation file: