University of Idaho Artist Brings Haiti Home

May 21, 2010

Media Contact: Karen Hunt, University Communications, (208) 885-7251,

Prichard Art Gallery Exhibit Features Haiti Art Project Through May 30

MOSCOW, Idaho – The Prichard Art Gallery is featuring the Haiti Art Project, which showcases artwork created by Haitian women and children. The exhibit, currently on display, will run through Sunday, May 30.

Ryan Law, a master of fine arts graduate student at the university, traveled to Bwa Nwa, a small village located on an island, just off of the coast of Haiti. There, she taught nearly 40 women and children how to paint and draw.

Law transcended the language barrier by communicating through the power of art. With only a piece of plywood for a blackboard, Law would draw a flower or house and the students would follow her, recreating the same image. While the language barrier was difficult, it was the lack of supplies that became the greatest challenge. She made use of what little art supplies she had, often breaking pencils in half to provide utensils for everyone.

“I was doing watercolors and we had to get the water out of a mud puddle,” said Law.

At the end of her two week stay, she asked her students to paint a picture of something they thought about, with no limitations to subject matter. The children painted pictures of animals, houses, flowers and people, among other things. Many women painted pictures of themselves or representations of women. Law took a picture of each artist, which will hang next to their specific paintings.

“It brings a sense of unity to the work,” said Law. “It also allows the viewer to put a face with a painting.”

While there have been many outreach programs to the people of Haiti since the earthquake this past winter, the idea for this project began several years ago. With the support of Prichard Art Gallery Director Roger Rowley, Law decided it was important to bring art from other countries to United States. Law plans to return to Bwanwr next year to conduct the art class again.

“Roger believed in this project,” said Law. "I'm grateful for his support and dedication to helping me expand my horizons."