Behind the scenes with the Haitian artist: Olivier Vilaire “Oski”
Olivier Vilaire, known under the alias «Oski», was born and raised in Haiti. He came to Montreal when he was 18 years old for his university studies. Olivier focuses particularly on social issues throughout his art work. In this article, we will discuss more on his social interest as well as how it relates to what we do.
My Social Interests is an authentic online publishing house which manages digital platforms to promote artists, entrepreneurs, coffee & restaurants owners and sociologists. One of our specific goal is to demonstrate how there is always few social issues involved behind many work of art & business projects. During this past winter, the Founder of My Social Interests Publishing House, Annick Bissainthe, a sociologist within the digital world, had an amazing interview with Oski.
Oski is a very compassionate & intuitive person. During the interview, I could feel how easy it was for him to be empathetic while describing his art work. Talking about his painting is like imagining a story in which we can understand the meaning behind every detail.
«I can identify myself to my home country Haiti as well as to Montreal after living there for a good few years» he mentioned. Montreal has helped him mature and allowed him to discover his artistic sensibility and develop his skills.
It is so easy to lose our identity, especially by jumping from one home country to another. He loves Montreal city just like he loves Haiti, it’s his second home, he specifies. Many artists have mentioned that they find themselves in their art work and only when painting they can feel a particular joy while expressing who they really are. As a sociologist with a particular interest in art, I can totally understand the emotional side of this.
Montreal has also helped me mature in different ways. I myself, immigrated to Montreal in the early 2000s when I was younger for my high school studies.
Below is a small excerpt of our interview (with no sound) that was published on Instagram in which we can totally see our ”bloopers”. I failed my parts so many times! But slowly slowly, I will practice more and eventually get better.
Oski first started as a woodworker. He was self taught and worked in Haiti for a few years in that industry. He says that since the beginning he approached projects as if they were sculptures, each piece was unique and had emotional value. It was an interesting career in which he worked on some amazing projects, however, he wanted to refine his skills further and came back to school in Montreal to do a DEP in fine woodworking. After he graduated he fell out of love with the industry of woodworking, he still loves working with the material but he is desperate for creative freedom, which why is now a visual artist.
He now feels free to explore the depth of his emotions! «Mostly, I just want to create» he genuinely revealed. Art for him is a way to express not only his emotions but to feel that he is making an impact in his world. «Very early Haitian children are included in Political topics during diner with the family every evening» he specified. Each of us has their own way of affecting our environment.
We want to help,
We want to be better,
It is part of us.
Something I found really interesting is the fact of bringing unity within our Haitian community whether in the country or overseas. That is where we quickly connected. My Social Interests is all about uniting cultures and understanding each other better. Our type of activism is to not create more anger between groups but to bring out peace.
Finally, he indicated that it is time to move forward. He has a “penchant” for deep social issues as inspiration for his artwork however his current body of work takes on a lighter tone. Despite that he his still bringing his influences from Haiti to Montreal by bringing the vibrancy of Haitian art to his landscape paintings of the city. He believes that a persons cultural background is his identity and keeps you grounded when moving somewhere else, while its also essential to understand and assimilate the culture of your new home. Integration for him is finding a way to marry the old influences with the new, which is what he is attempting is his work.
Check out his art below about Haitian migration on his Instagram page
In one of his art, he got inspired by Toto Bissainthe, a former known Haitian artist, my great great aunt, for his sketch of Haitian women !
This painting is called “playful mile end” and it’s inspired from the vanhorn overpass and the old water tower next to it and children’s play parks, since we have fun there. 18 x 24 inches acrylic and gouache on canvas
The last one is called “the bird cage lady”. Its inspired by a store that is covered with bird cages and plants. The store is on Bernard st. It’s 18×24 inches, acrylic and gouache on canvas.
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