The Goddess Constellations / Sky Above Port-au-prince Haiti 12 January 2010, 21:53 UTC, Kunsthal Kade Amersfoort NL 2012, Opening
The Goddess Constellations / Sky Above Port-au-prince Haiti 12 January 2010, 21:53 UTC, Kunsthal Kade Amersfoort NL 2012 foto:JUD
Goddess Constellations / Sky Above Port-au-prince Haiti 12 January 2010, 21:53 UTC, GrandPalais 2014 foto:JUD
DETAIL Goddess Constellations / Sky Above Port-au-prince Haiti 12 January 2010, 21:53 UTC foto:JUD
Press Opening Interview, Grand Palais, Paris FR
The Goddess Constellations / Sky Above Port-au-prince Haiti 12 January 2010, Grand Palais, Paris foto:D.Plowy RMNGP
56.Venice Biennale of Art Haiti Pavilion 2015 accepted proposal /unrealized
Sky Above PAP Haiti "Boule du ciel"(Sky balls) Crushed-poster multiple (dinA2,offset ), Kracow Poland

Sky Above Port-au-Prince

Haiti 12 January 2010 21:53 UTC

Ah! Qui me rendra mon pays Haiti    
C'est toi mon seul paradis Haiti    
Ah! Dieu me rappelle    
Tes forêts si belles    
Tes grands horizons    
Loin de tes rivages    
La plus belle cage    
N'est qu'une prison    
Oui!! Mon désir, mon cri d'amour Haiti – Josephine Baker, Haiti (1934)

In Sky over Port-au-Prince Haiti 12th January 2010, Jean-Ulrick Désert illustrates through astrological re-enactment an archeological study of a man-made disaster. It is a call to the pre-history of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake which struck 15 miles from the capital and resulted in the deaths of approximately 250,000 people, the injury of hundreds of thousands more and the destruction of an already desolate national infrastructure. It was an apocalyptic scene which owed its direction to the neo-liberal “structural adjustment” of the French and the North Americans. A subjugating economic programme which predates the structural adjustment programmes proffered upon the newly “independent” states of the 1950s and 1960s. As Noam Chomsky noted, for centuries, Haiti has been paying for its crime of self liberation.1

This artwork is also inadvertently a tale of two earthquakes, similar in magnitude, yet categorically dissimilar in their impact. 7.0 registered on the Richter scale in Haiti on Tuesday, the 12th of January, 2010 and 8.8 registered in Chile a month and a half later, with official tallies for the latter at approximately 500 casualties. What results is a portrait of a sky, cardinal red, over an island – one half green, one half brown. Approximately 750 embossed portraits of Josephine Baker “the Goddess” on white foil appear as white interruptions on a red sky. It bears an uncanny resemblance to an accumulation of white blood cells and seems to denote a malignancy and calls to a pre-existing condition. It questions the role of nature in the “natural disaster” and demands answers without particular discretion for their sources or inclinations – cosmic, religious, scientific, spiritual.

The Haitian Earth quake of 2010 killed more than a quarter of a million people. Additional notes and reflections are posted in the diary/blog of this website on *several Diary/Blog posts.

Text: Mokia Laisin

The Caged Bird Sings
Josephine Baker as a caged bird sings "HAYITI" & CCTV of trapped man in National Palace of Haiti during 2010 earthquake. Presented at "Black Portraiture(s)" Paris Conference, 2013
Material & Format:

2012: Mixed media celestial map, embossed metal foil, velvet-paper, styrofoam, ±300cm x 300cm from 9 individual 100cm x 100cm panels

  1. Chomsky, Noam & Paul Farmer, “The Uses of Haiti", MIT Tech Culture Forum, 2022, accessed online via: (12.06.2023).


WORKS 1997–2023

Jean-Ulrick Désert is the inaugural recipient of Wi Di Mimba Wi :: The AKB & SAVVY Contemporary Commission Prize. 

Silence Will Not Protect You

Originally commissioned for Volume IV of Unfinished Histories at the Klosterruine in Berlin–Mitte, curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung. The initial floor installation consisted of 33 fine grain concrete birds laid to rest upon concrete/beton blocks...

Terra Nova Afrikæ 新非洲

Commissioned for the exhibition THE INCANTATION OF THE DISQUIETING MUSE by Savvy Contemporary (Berlin)...

Neque mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos

do not cast pearls before swine

In this work, Désert teases the above mentioned excerpt from Matthew 7:6 and renders it in the form of festoons draped across the room. The texts, exhibited in Kreyol, Papiamento, Spanish, Sranan Tongo, and Patois, sit underneath balloons which characterise the pearls we are warned of wasting on undeserving recipients.

ABC's of my Private Life

L’ABCdaire de ma vie privée

In four pages, Jean-Ulrick Désert revisits the four places that shaped his personal experience: Port-au-Prince, Brooklyn, Paris, and Berlin...

Tante Cilet

How Nannite became Aunt Cilet (2015)

The shared phenomena of archiving and recycling photographic memories through family albums remains a critical point of cohesion for the Haitian diaspora...

Belgian Soliloquy

Belgian Soliloquy was developed for the Special Art-Project space PLATFORM 102 In Brussels (Belgium)...

Amour Colère Folie

(Love Anger Madness )- A Temporary Monument to Resistance

A temporary monument to resistance...


The Goddess Temple

An imaginary "ruin" of Josephine Baker's unconstructed Parisian villa of 1928 (by Adolf Loos)...


(I am very much in love w/u)

The Latin term Secretum is used to express the idea of a contained or jarred secret...



BlackOut was first created and installed for 3 days in a public square (Richard-Platz, Berlin-Neukölln) in the summer of 2012.


The Goddess Constellations

 A 3-dimensional map of the sky above Paris (48°51N2°21E) marking the hour (5AM) of Josephine Baker's *death on the 12th of April 1975..

Shrine of The Divine Negress No.1

The Goddess Project

Désert’s take on the image of the Black Madonna and the Divine Feminine is expressed with a motif of Josephine Baker...

White Lessons

a series of different art-projects on the theme of Whiteness as a lecture presented at Making Mirrors Conference at the Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst...

Good Morning Prussia

Good Morning Prussia (Guten Morgen Preussen) is a series of handmade cyanotype photographs. It is the story of a “little Nubian boy”, August Sabac el Cher, who was given as a "gift" to a German noble due to his musical talents. 

Divine Negress Butterfly Fans

The Goddess Project

1000 hand-fans distributed to the public with the quotation: "A butterfly flapping its wings...can generate a violent storm"-Kofi Annan...


Paint-by-number Trophies (2009) 

The statement 'you can be whoever you want to be...Prime-Minister/President, Secretary General, even an Artist'
- often goes unexamined...

Voices from the Heart

Urban Grafitti is carefully documented and transcribed onto Gingerbread-cookies...


Works on paper (mixed media and collage) created for the exhibition entitled Demokratie und Gewalt...

The Travel Albums


A diary of imaginary postcards with incidental notes recounting the project's journeys and strolls in texts and images collected from the public...

The Passion

The artist focuses on football (soccer) fan-culture eccentricities, typified by extravagant fanaticism and the hooligan subculture..

Codex Testimoniorum Amoris

The Book of the Witnesses of Love

-or- The Collected Accounts of the Emptoris Depicting their Experiences with the Scortæ de Genus Masculus of Landeshaupstadt München including Many Depictions of the Latter Compiled & Annotated for the Moral Education of the Good

Toiles de Jouy

All projects of the Haitian-American artist Jean-Ulrick Désert tackle the visualization of abstract ideas, such as the complex relations between private and political space...

Postcards From My Loves

NH2K / Billboards

Illuminated billboards digitally printed on textile...

The Science of Beauty

The works of The Science of Beauty consists of a series of newly imagined school-charts using transgendered and intersexed bodies from the beauty of nature.

Métamorphoses Sublimes

A video(loop) projection presented in Istanbul (Turkey) of a Belgian woman demonstrating How to construct and wear a modesty Muslim-veil fashionable among the Turkish minority in Germany. 

Jn.Ulrick Désert

Jn.Ulrick Désert

Désert's first German solo-retrospective exhibition entitled and simply abbreviated as Jn.Ulrick Désert presented at the Wolfsburg Castle (Schloßwolfsburg)) by Kunstverein-wolfsburg

Die Hosen 'runter lassen

The Haitian-American artist creatively reacts to Robert Mappelthorpes seminal and highly controversial black & white photograph Man in a Polyester Suit...

Suicidal Meditations

Photo and video-based project..

The Burqa Project

On The Borders Of My Dreams I Encountered My Double's Ghost

Four flags from four leading industrial nations, The United States of America, The United Kingdom/Great Britain, France, Germany, are used as the basis for replicating the Afghanistan hijab known as The Burqa...


Surrender comprises of two artworks, originally available as low edition multiples, La Main (The Hand) and Le Chapelet (The Rosary) ...



A beer coaster created to be distributed and used in public and private venues...


The artist in German Lederhosen constructed of leather resembling caucasian skin and blond hair, was initially deployed as an art-action in multiple European cities...

The Hip Decadence of Reductive Glamour

The artist, wearing a light tone foundation make-up as a Caucasian hipster, takes a series of self-portraits using a public photo-booth at the Paris Opera House Metro.

Tea Celine

Thé Céline

Glazed Porcelain with blue over-glazed texts (Louis-Ferdinand Céline citations in consultation with French literature scholar Prof.Thomas C. Spear, CUNY)