PEN has joined forces with online auction site Paddle8 for a unique benefit auction to support PEN Haiti. Artist Sébastien Jean, whose work has been shown at the Venice Biennale, has donated a series of paintings to benefit the new PEN Haiti Center. His imagined bestiary plays upon vodou, manga, and graffiti, a true testament to the complexity of life in 21st century Haiti. The new Résidence Georges Anglade was founded after PEN Haiti’s founder was killed in the 2010 earthquake. Situated in the hills above Port-au-Prince, the new PEN center offers a peaceful retreat for emerging writers and the cultivation of literary arts. Proceeds from the auction will help provide much-needed support to PEN Haiti.

Sébastien’s work will be featured along with works by artist Molly Crabapple, who has generously donated art to support the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature.

Click here to support PEN Haiti and bid on the work of Sébastien Jean

Oil on paper. 20 7/8 X 39 1/2 inches. 53 X 100 cm.

Diptych. Oil on canvas.
Left image: 58 1/2 X 45 1/2  inches  149 X 138 cm
Right image: 58 X 45 1/2 inches  147 X 116 cm

Oil on paper. 20 7/8 X 39 1/2  inches  52 X 100 cm

Oil on canvas. 45 1/2 X 46 3/8 inches   116 X 118 cm

Oil on paper. 20 7/8 X 39 1/2  inches  52 X 100 cm

About the artist

Sébastien Jean was born on 17 March 1980 in Thomassin, Haiti. Encouraged by his mother, the artist and sculptor began to draw and paint at age 13 on shoots of bamboo. In 2004, Jean abandoned his folk method to begin working on canvas, and developed an original technique that involves burning the materials, giving his work a unique phantasmagoric quality. His dynamic, totemic sculptures—which form a substantial part of his oeuvre—are made from the found-objects that litter the hillsides and alleyways of the Haitian landscape. The colorful masks and decorations from Haitian carnaval have nourished Jean’s taste for the fantastic. Driven by seemingly relentless energy and a bold imagination, Jean has developed a unique cosmology replete with strange beasts and haunting, human-like figures. His universe is populated by monsters, birds of prey, and wandering spirits, presenting a ghostly vision of a tormented world. 

Sébastien Jean has been supported by artists from different disciplines (Félicia Dell and Michel Chataigne, Mario Benjamin, Christian Raccurt and Reynal Lally), and he has enjoyed a rapid trajectory onto the international art scene: at the Fondation Agnès à Paris, the 54th Venice Biennale, and the Global Caribbean III at the Cultural Haitian Center of Miami. He has won multiple residencies at Cité des Arts in Paris and in Limoges, where he continues to expand and innovate in his work.