The committee chose to award the Prix Envol to Rhodnie Désir Créations in order to underline the extraordinary adventure of BOW’T TRAIL Rétrospek – a work brought by an artist gifted with extraordinary determination – which took place over several years and several continents, and which mobilized many artists and partners. The committee salutes Rhodnie Désir’s courage and perseverance in her artistic, humanitarian and political work that raises awareness of the importance of the fight against exclusion and racism. Rhodnie is a socially engaged artist and her role as an ambassador of Montreal’s culture on the national and international scenes is tremendous.
Born to a mother from Gonaïves and a father from Port-au-Prince (Haiti), Rhodnie Désir articulates her gesture using sung or spoken languages specially created for each of her works, from which emanates a gesture, like a unique time marker, affirming a contemporaneity that is mainly inspired by traditions from Haiti, Central and West Africa, and other Caribbean countries.
With a degree in Communications and Marketing from Université de Montréal and HEC Montréal, Business Start-Up from SAJE Montréal Métro, and the Professional and Artistic Training Program in African Dance from Zab Maboungou / Nyata Nyata Dance Company, Rhodnie Désir has taken professional training courses with masters of ancestral contemporary languages.
Her flagship work, BOW’T (2013), put her in the spotlight on local and international stages, including Burkina Faso and Canada, completing her repertoire of some fifteen works and multiple international collaborations. In 2014, Rhodnie was the only North American artist who took part in the International Dance Festival in Ouagadougou with BOW’T, and to participate as a specialist panelist in the UNESCO seminar “Artists and the Memory of Slavery: Resistance, Creative Freedom and Legacies” in 2015.
Her unique Afro-contemporary and choreographic-documentary signature led her to conceive the pioneering and international project BOW’T TRAIL (www.bowttrail.com) in six countries of the Americas: Martinique, Haiti, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States. This project gave rise to eight new choreographic works, a web series of five episodes (TOU.TV) and a web documentary of 75 videos soon to be broadcast on ICI ARTV/Radio-Canada, tracing the rhythmic and resistance heritage of the Afrodescendant peoples of the Americas. This innovative appreciation of Afro-descendant intangible heritage has earned her recognition from UNESCO’s “Slave Route” project and allowed her to be the only guest North American artist in the Francophone cultural programming of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, at the invitation of former OIF Secretary General Michelle Jean and the late artist emeritus Manu Dibango.
Rhodnie is the businesswoman behind the cultural action company DÊZAM, allowing her to develop more than 2500 cultural actions between 2008 and 2018. She also founded the artistic organization RD Créations in 2017.
Committed to the advancement of her community, she sat on the Board of Directors of Festival Quartiers danses and the Regroupement Québécois de la danse where she chaired the Diversity Committee. Winner of the Grand Prix Lys de la diversité in 2016 and currently Chair of the Board of Montréal, arts interculturels, she is frequently invited as a speaker as well as a jury member for arts councils and government bodies.