Haitian Women: Tracy Guiteau Paints Naomi Osaka Reads Tracy Guiteau

Tracy Guiteau and Naomi Osaka with Guiteau’s Portrait of Osaka

“I know our ancestors’ blood is strong we’ll keep rising,” Osaka said after committing her prize money to the relief effort after the earthquake in Haiti. An admirer of the Haitian American artist Tracy Guiteau’s work—Osaka commissioned the above portrait of herself–would Naomi admire as I do the stunning beauty of Tracy Guiteau’s recent work Hindsight, its three Haitian women, their bodies glistening from within the spellbinding patterns weaving their dresses, their interlaced arms holding one another up “I know our ancestor’s blood is strong we’ll keep rising” in the present the past the future as they enter the ocean the land the permanence of art of memory of ancestors of dance . . .

“It’s ok to be not ok” Osaka famously said of late on the cover of Time Magazine. Hindsight’s Haitian van Gogh sky, its deep blue ocean swirl of womb.

Hindsight’s separate energy lines not touching but connected to every other line the artist paints, a technique Guiteau calls Linism, “these lines creating movement reminiscent of blood flowing through veins and energy passing to and from all around us” (Guiteau). Art for Guiteau “providing strength and the space to be heard even when the rest of the world does not.” Osaka, Guiteau, all the women of Haiti. “I know our ancestor’s blood is strong we’ll keep rising.”

Artist Biography

               For some, art is not a choice, but a destiny — Tracy Guiteau is one such artist. With every school notebook brimming with drawings, her math teacher recommended Guiteau follow her artistic spirit. She enrolled in a magnet art school and eventually graduated from New World School of the Arts High School in Miami, FL. Yet, Guiteau’s path to art was not always perfectly clear.

               Born to traditional Haitian parents in New York, building a career in the arts required leaving behind her parent’s expectations that she pursue nursing. Guiteau was torn between tradition and truth, but the ever-present pull of art was stronger. She left tradition behind and enrolled in the Rhode Island School of Design, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. Her time spent studying the arts only further invigorated her passion, leading her to feed that artistic curiosity through travel and hone her skills at the University of Westminster in London.

               Today, Guiteau’s insatiable spirit for art has built her the very career she once hesitated to pursue. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including in such renowned events as Miami Art Basel. Her unique style is unmistakable, a quality confirmed by when being hand-picked by the top tennis player Naomi Osaka and iconic athlete LeBron James’ digital media company for an art collaboration during Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

               Yet, what stands out most about Guiteau’s inspiring journey into artistic success is what makes her work so distinctive. While she left behind the traditional path to forge her own, it’s her Haitian heritage, independent spirit, and love of finding beauty in all things that imbue her work with rich colors, vivid emotion, and a timeless perspective, making it unlike anything seen today.

Artist Statement

               Art has been a native language for me since childhood. When my sadness or frustration could find no ears to accept them, a blank page became welcoming arms. The more I leaned into art as a space for open expression, the stronger that language became. Today my art is a fully-fledged world, inhabited by inspiring and resilient Haitian people, particularly women, who carry that are stories rich with value.

               The hidden words and poignant scenes in my work are all pieces of the many stories I share through my art. There is a message imbedded within every work, like a magic word that imbues the listener with a shard of strength and positivity, as stories have done for humans through history.

               I’ve termed the distinct style I paint in linism, as these lines create movement reminiscent of blood flowing through veins and energy passing to and from all around us. Linism is the closest match to encapsulating the unseen power of connection within our world. At its peak, art can be an extension of God — both carry beauty and power that are seen and unseen, providing strength and the space to be heard even when the rest of the world does not.

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