Growing Up

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In this block, the artists have chosen to call attention to the experiences of children during the Haitian Revolution. Two of of Toussaint L'Ouverture’s sons, named Isaac and Saint-Jean, are featured prominently in this piece. Growing up with a famous and powerful father, these children enjoyed many more luxuries than most Haitian children, for the two boys were fortunate enough to be sent to France in 1797 to receive education in foreign languages and the arts. However, even relocation to Europe did not save the boys from meeting the same ill fate which met the other nine of L’Ouverture’s children, many of whom died before their father. Above the portraits of the L’Ouverture sons, the artists have included a depiction of children harvesting sugar cane in a pre-revolution Haiti. These children were exploited under the relentless control of plantation owners, seen here in suit jackets and straw hats, who robbed children of their childhood, education, families, and often their lives.