Maksaens Denis
"Love is Not a Crime" by Maksaens Denis. Photo credit:Haiti Cultural Exchange/ Twitter

The mix-media video projection by Maksaens Denis presents a counterpoint to the negativity often directed at members of the LGBTQ community, focusing on love instead.

“Untitled” by Maksaens Denis

Haitian LGBTQ artist Maksaens Denis presents Love Is Not a Crime, an arresting audio-visual installation, in partnership with the Haitian Cultural Exchange at FiveMyles Gallery. 

On view now through June 17, the mix-media video projection, mounted on a cross in the PLUS/SPACE of FiveMyles Gallery and accompanied by sounds composed by LeRobot, aims to provide a counterpoint to the negativity often directed at members of his community. Through revealing visual testimonies, Denis brings to life the experiences and reflections of oft-maligned individuals. 

“Love is Not a Crime” by Maksaens Denis. Photo credit:Haiti Cultural Exchange/ Twitter

“This work is deeply personal, I didn’t want to fall into creating something stereotypical of the community or voyeuristic,” shared Denis with the Haiti Cultural Exchange. ”There is a lot of violence that is experienced by the [LGBT+] community. Whether it’s verbal or physical violence. I’d rather speak about love because that is often forgotten.”

Maksaens Denis. Photo credit: Antoine Tempé

Maksaens Denis is a multi-media artist from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He graduated from Ecole Supérieure de Réalisation Audiovisuelle, a Parisian audio-visual school, in 1992. While freelancing for French television channels such as Canal+, Arte and Mezzo, he started participating in various artistic residencies, notably in Burkina Faso, Los Angeles, Khartoum and Montreal. By 2009, he was participating and curating art shows, and in 2010, he won the Blachère Foundation prize for his “36 Seconds” installation at the contemporary art biennale in Dakar, Senegal. Known for his artistic video practice, Denis is a visionary pioneer of the moving image whose influence has global resonance.  

Love Is Not a Crime is part of Selebrasyon! 2018, NYC’s only festival dedicated to celebrating Haiti and its diaspora, hosted by the Haiti Cultural Exchange (HCX). This year’s Selebrasyon! is dedicated to “Ayiti ANGAJE/Atis ANGAJE” and celebrates talent whose artistic practice is rooted in social justice. Through creativity, expression and community, this two-month festival aims to bring together over thirty emerging, mid-career and established artists to present their work in main-stage and community venues in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Love Is Not a Crime by Maksaens Denis is on view through June 17, at FiveMyles Gallery at 558 St. Johns Place in Crown Heights.

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