oil on board
24 x 30 in
Artist Caption reads:
2e et 3e Bureaux de Vote aux Elections de 1957 au Cap-Haitien, 1958
Philome Obin painted the fateful 1957 election that saw the rise of François "Papa Doc" Duvalier, which consequently would be the last free election for Haiti until the overthrow of Duvalier's son in 1986. Like the artist, Duvalier was profoundly affected by the occupation of Haiti by the American Military from 1915-1934, hardening him against both the occupation and the elites who ran Haiti at the time. His candidacy in 1957 toppled the opposition and won him the presidency in a landslide victory. After a failed coup in July 1958, Duvalier would consolidate his power more and more and descend the country into a totalitarian regime that would engulf Haiti for nearly thirty years. The warm earthy colors and flattened perspective rendered in Obin's quintessential style lends optimism to the scene. Along with the Hotel De Ville (City Hall), Cap-Haitien's famous mountains and bright blue sky anchor the setting to the city. The crowds of voters waiting patiently in line, likely to cast their vote for Duvalier, are a colorful mix of men and women in bright clothing.