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The Cover
February 26, 2003

Flowers on Table

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(8):951. doi:10.1001/jama.289.8.951

Haitian painter Hector Hyppolite (1894-1948) was inspired by the spiritual. Like his grandfather and father, he practiced as a houngan (vodou priest). Vodou, Haiti's principal religion, was brought to the island by African slaves and syncretized with Roman Catholicism. This belief system is a vital part of Haitian culture and reverberates in its artwork.

For most of his 54 years, Hyppolite lived a quiet and unassuming life in his native St Marc on the western coast of the island (JAMA cover, October 2, 2002). Although he worked as a shoemaker's apprentice and cut sugarcane in Cuba, he was often destitute. However, his true passion was painting and he painted with whatever was at hand: brushes made of chicken feathers, his fingers, and furniture enamel. With these simple materials, he decorated signs, doors, and furniture with lush flowers and tropical birds.

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