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Road Trip by Tap-Tap

The tap-tap crawls through the streets of Port-au-Prince, packed beyond capacity with animals, produce, and people. This is Haiti’s version of public transportation, a pimped-out pickup, minivan, or bus painted watermelon green, cherry red, black, and yellow. The sides are adorned with religious mottos like “God is good” or maybe an airbrushed mural of sexy girls surrounded by starbursts. And you can hear the tap-tap coming before it even turns the corner, because there’s a stereo rocking kompa tunes at top volume, the windows are open, and everyone is singing.

Running through September 5, a new exhibition of Haitian art at the Frost Art Museum has adopted this folk curiosity as its central metaphor. Enter “Tap-Tap” this Tuesday and tour the country — from les provinces to la ville, le marché, and l’église — aboard papier-mâché buses by sculptors Yvens Leger, Jean Thermidor, and a pair of unknowns. You will see the Eden-like seaside landscapes of Wagler Vital, a Cap Haitien street scene by Lesly, and Jacques Valmidor’s Christian wedding. Typically, a tap-tap ride costs cinq gourdes, but this one is free.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.; Sundays, noon. Starts: July 13. Continues through Sept. 5, 2010


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