Haitian Kreyol Thesaurus

Language plays a major role in understanding and interpreting works of Haitian art. Critical Cataloging recognizes how classification systems (and other facets of metadata creation) standardize and codify long-held prejudices through language and erasure. A key to our project is the development of our Kreyol arts thesaurus, a section of the project that will be led in dialogue with our partner institutions, Kreyol-speaking artists and museum professionals, and members of the Haitian Studies academic community. By creating a thesaurus to differentiate different art practices and materials, we hope to broaden the understanding of the art form of Haitian artists and provide standards for considering diverse art forms emerging from Haiti. We see the thesaurus as a necessary guide that draws knowledge on art from Kreyol, recognizing the native language’s adaptability and fluidity as used within art communities. The Kreyol thesaurus will align with our metadata schema, and be fully and freely accessible via our webpage. Descriptors for fields will be populating our Kreyol dictionary to create a multilingual database. In many ways, our linguistic considerations are tied to our desire to make a database that is accessible to Haitian populations across the diaspora and that is open-sourced and considerate of limited internet and data bandwidths available within the context of Haiti.