Sydney Rose Maubert: Hymns From a Burning House — Haitian Dispossession

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Abstract images of people and hands, adorned in traditional garb
Vodou Gate image / provided
A black couple in wedding attire, with abstract images around them. A group of black school girls is below them.
Wedding image / provided
A black couple embrace in a room
The Couple image / provided
Abstract imagery of a beauty shop
The Beauty Shop image / provided
A group of people riding on top of a van. The entire image is abstract.
Tap Tap / provided by Sydney Rose Maubert
Vodou Gate image / provided Wedding image / provided The Couple image / provided The Beauty Shop image / provided Tap Tap / provided by Sydney Rose Maubert


I wish I could testify that I came to know my heritage because of my easy feeling of belonging. But it was a foreign intimacy that let me know how much heritage mattered. As I went out into the world, I was troubled by the dispossessive force of disruptive stories, when my innocent questions were confronted with tales of poisons, zombies, and capture; of unreliable actors and insurgency; of riches, pearls, and unfounded debts. I was troubled and fascinated by these stories, which blurred the boundaries of history and humor, and found myself struggling to untether myself from what might be a great folktale or might be a vital lineage. I longed for the fleeting feeling of freedom I knew as a child, when my father would tell me stories of my heritage, of Haitian heroes and of the Haitian Revolution. It broke my heart as I grew older, to hear my father say over and over, "Did you see Haiti is on fire again?" I'd witness distorted images of a church on fire, women looking dazed in the street, and these terribly beautiful photos of bedrooms, couples tethered to each other in embrace. I hesitate to represent these images, though I feel the need to call attention to the ease with which we make a spectacle of Haitian suffering — and to illuminate how Haitian women's brilliant experiments with homemaking, intimacy, and the performance of daily life are often overlooked.


Sydney Rose Maubert is a Haitian-Cuban architect, artist, and a Strauch Fellow in AAP's Department of Architecture. She holds post-professional and professional degrees in architecture from Yale University (2022) and the University of Miami (2020), with double minors in writing and art. She has received several awards, including the Yale Moulton Andros Award (2022) and the University of Miami Alpha Rho Chi Award (2020). She is the founder of Sydney R. Maubert LLC, her art and mural practice. She splits her time between Miami and New York.

Her scholarly research interests are architecture, geography, and cultural production in the Caribbean and American South. The work is largely shaped by black studies, gender studies, decolonial studies, history, and cultural geography.

As a Strauch Fellow, Maubert is teaching and producing research exploring racial-sexual perception in the built environment. 

A special thank you to the Cornell Council for the Arts for their support by sponsoring this exhibition.

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