Born in 1994, Benoit Profélus is a young but successful artist. He has five siblings: three brothers and two sisters. He started to paint when he was 7 years old, but his father wanted him to focus on education instead of art. However, when Benoit sold his first painting for $20 at the age of 9, his father allowed him to continue pursuing his artistic endeavor, and Benoit has thus become an increasingly well-known artist. When he was 17, Benoit opened his own art workshop and has since been teaching a growing number of students interested in learning from him. However, when his father’s death resulted in Benoit carrying most of his family’s financial burden on his shoulders, he found it extremely difficult to continue painting, as he became responsible for paying for his siblings’ education. Despite all the impediments, Benoit persists in managing his own art school, which now teaches 20-30 young, local students. He also collaborates with other artists in Chermaitre to paint houses and schools and sometimes exhibits his art in Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien.
Excerpt from an interview conducted by Catherine Wu, Class of 2021
“I would like to become a bigger artist,” Benoit said to me. “I would like to become a good businessman and painter, to travel to sell paintings, to go to every country and exhibit.” Benoit also hopes to enlarge his workshop and have somewhere else to paint too. He would like to go to an English school, as well as another art school to perfect his painting skills. With regards to Haiti, he told me that he likes his country, that Haiti is good, and he would like to stay there. This made me wonder…that perhaps the minds of youth are capable of seeing the beauty of Haiti in a different pair of lens than those of the older generation…that there is still hope.
Benoit paints every day and draws his inspirations from casual trips to the countryside where he observes the markets scenes and sees people carrying things on their heads. Painting helps him to comprehend everything around him. Benoit also likes to paint in the garden and with musical accompaniment. Through his paintings, Benoit attempts to “present [the] reality,” with vibrant colors and contrasts depicting natural and life scenes. His style of painting differs from painting to painting, as demonstrated by some of his paintings featured below.