Les Polonais Noirs

Les Polonais Noirs

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July 4, 2013 

Center for Urban History, Lviv

Center  hosted a screening of Les Polonais a Haiti documentary. The screening was followed by a presentation by Sebastian Rypson, anthopologist and project leader, entitled "Les Polonais Noirs".

In his presentation, Sebastian Rypson provided a descriptive and analytical overview of the historical circumstances concerning the participation of Polish Legionnaires in the Haitian Revolution during the period 1802-1803. The presentation analysed the reasons for the Legionnaries’ defection to the Haitian Army and their subsequent naturalisation as Haitian, and thus ‘Black’, citizens. Furthermore, the presentation provided an in-depth overview and analysis of the Poloné-Ayisyen community and its history in Haiti, focussing also on the survival of material and immaterial artefacts of the Poloné-Ayisyen existence remaining in Haiti today. Finally, the presenter was specifically focused on the intertwinement of historical narratives produced by the Poloné-Ayisyens themselves and narratives concerning development of their community, as well as an analysis of historical narratives about the Poloné-Ayisyens produced by non-Haitian authors, and the way historical narrative production works in general.

Sebastian Rypson (1978)

was born in Warsaw. At the age of one he moved to Amsterdam. Growing up and completing his primary education in The Cook Islands and New Zealand, his first tongue became English. Moving back to the Netherlands, he completed his Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). For his Master’s Thesis "Being Poloné in Haiti – Origins, Survivals, Development, and Narrative Production of the Polish Presence in Haiti" he won first prize for best anthropological thesis 2008-2009 at the University of Amsterdam. Besides his academic interests, Rypson is a curator of contemporary art, and is a founding member of the curatorial platform "Anthropologists in Art" (www.aiart.nl). Anthropologists in Art aim to employ both the fields of art and social sciences to gain insight in the human condition. Since 2010 he has been the curatorial director at WM Gallery, Amsterdam, with a focus on photography. In his curatorial capacity he has curated exhibitions by such artists and groups as Andrzej Dragan, Jimmy Rage, Laser 3.14, Zofia Rydet, Łódź Kaliska, El Baldío Movíl, Grzegorz Rogala, Mayumi Nakazaki, Maurycy Gomulicki, Andrij Bojarov, Jan Dziaczkowski, MJ Turpin, and Kato Tan, among many others. In 2011 Rypson worked as a cultural consultant for documentary directors Piotr Rosołowski and Bartosz Konopka. Sebastian Rypson speaks Polish, English, Dutch and Haitian Kreyol. He works and lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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