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These drawings show another side to Buckley's work. They were made during his six week visit to the Caribbean island of Haiti earlier this year, and record the tragic political and social conditions that he found there.


"Haiti is a surreal country. Everything is larger than life. Where else can you find a military dictator who doesn't send his citizens off to war to be killed, he shoots them down himself on the home front? Where else do people in a voodoo trance kiss a pig to death? Where do families see the devil strolling down the street? Where is Aids running riot?


Haiti may be something out of the past or the future... but this country has very little to do with the present. I knew this within minutes of arriving. The facial expression of the people wasn't right. Something was missing. Smiles and sneers were curling up together. The faces gave you one thing when you first saw them, but turn your back for a minute and those same faces turned into something quite different.


I rode through Port-au-Prince expecting anything... except mounds of hot rotten rubbish stacked on streets surrounded by pools of cool, clean, fresh water. The mains pipes had burst... drinking water was running down the street going nowhere. No one was repairing anything.


The taxi stopped at the Olaffson... a stage set of a hotel, filled with props: shuttered windows, ceiling fans, marble, bronze, leather, brass and leopards in cages behind the bar. I stayed a month and met some whores and colonels and missionaries who came to save souls... and musclemen who came to kill them.


I was a voyeur, but at certain times the hairs were standing up on the back of my neck. I knew a lot of those things I had only suspected were really happening. It was very weird... but it wasn't something I could put my finger on to say why. I was there, in the middle. I made these drawings... I had to."


John Buckley


Discret Charm of Bourgeoisie. Haiti Gallery.

Haiti Gallery