Coyle started her project by contacting Kyn Tolson, the programs administrator for Outreach to Haiti, a humanitarian relief organization under the auspices of the Catholic Archdiocese of Norwich. Tolson has been travling to Haiti for her job since the mid-90s. After the quake, which occurred on Jan. 12, 2010 and killed about 300,000 people, she flew down and took hundreds of photos of collapsed buildings, tent cities, temporary hospitals, makeshift school buildings, rubble and the people who lived among the wreckage.
“People were at best dazed, confused and shocked. … But Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The earthquake was nature dealing a catastrophe to man, but mankind, had certainly already dealt Haiti catastrophe upon catastrophe before that,” Tolson said. “All the foundations were laid by the misery that existed and the terrible construction. … When you’re living on the edge to begin with, there is not really any margin for error.”
Coyle met Tolson through a mutual friend and Tolson agreed to let her paint some of her photos. Out of 1,500 photos, Coyle chose 20 that showed people against destroyed backgrounds.
When Coyle was half-done with her project, she arranged for the exhibit at Clare Gallery, a gallery focusing on spiritual and social-justice themes located in St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford. St. Patrick-St. Anthony has a sister parish, St. Genevieve, in Zoranje, Haiti.
The Haitians in the paintings are babies, children, teens, young adults and elderly men and women. Coyle knows the names of only one: Madam Samson, an old woman legendary in her neighborhood for her generosity. via – Courant.com