Visions of the Haitian Revolution’s Rebel Women and Men

Thursday 5th October

In this talk, acclaimed Haitian artist François Cauvin and University of Glasgow researcher Dr Rachel Douglas will be in conversation. They will discuss the iconic portraiture of Haiti’s rebel women and men and the visual aftershocks of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) in contemporary Haitian art particularly during the current moment of “ensekirite” political and social violence.


Cauvin will explore how his family history intersects with Haitian history and sites of memory including some of the Haitian Revolution’s main battlefields. Cauvin will discuss his and other Haitian families’ migration to Montreal, Canada during the dictatorship of François “Papa Doc” and Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier (1957-1986) and its long aftermath.

François Cauvin is an acclaimed Haitian artist based in Montreal. His iconic portrait of Toussaint Louverture with a guinea fowl forming his hat is the cover image of Sudhir Hazareesingh’s Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture. The famous portrait has now travelled far and wide as this book won the Wolfson Prize, the UK’s most prestigious history prize. Recently he has completed portraits of Haiti’s revolutionary women, including Sanite Belair and Marie-Jeanne Lamartinière. With funding from the Glasgow Knowledge Exchange Fund, Cauvin will speak with Rachel Douglas at UK museums and the Houses of Parliament on the topic “Visual Aftershocks of the Haitian Revolution.”

Rachel Douglas is Reader in French and Comparative Literature at the University of Glasgow. She is the author of two books: Making The Black Jacobins: C. L. R. James and the Drama of History (Duke University Press, 2019) and Frankétienne and Rewriting: A Work in Progress (Lexington Books, 2009). Her research is on Caribbean literature, history, film, visual art, and archives with a focus on Haiti. She has been awarded Research Fellowships from the Leverhulme Trust, Royal Society of Edinburgh and Arts and Humanities Research Council and grants from the British Library Endangered Archives Programme and the Prince Claus Fund.

Organised by Dr Rachel Douglas (University of Glasgow) and Dr Esther Chadwick (The Courtauld). 

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