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Charles Obas was born on February 10, 1927 in Plaisance, Haiti. He completed his studies at Notre Dame du Cap Haitien. At the age of 13 he was encouraged by his father to paint. In 1948, he joined the Centre d’Art where he taught classes in primitive art. In 1950 he participated in the establishment of the Foyer des Arts Plastiques. His artwork has been exhibited in Chicago, Mexico and Sao Paulo. Obas began to publicly speaking out against the political oppression and human rights violations that existed in Haiti. He was arrested in 1968 for protesting against the Haitian government and has not been seen or heard from since. His disappearance remains a mystery. Illustrations of his painting can be seen in Gérald Alexis book, “Peintres Haïtien” and John Allen Franciscus' book, "Haiti Voodoo Kingdom To Modern Riviera".
The zombie character is central to Haitian folklore. It articulates a memory of the loss of control over self suffered during the period of slavery. In Oba's painting the zombie has further reference to the physical labor of slaves on Haitian plantations. The zombie is forced to do mindless labor on a plantation owned by a tyrant. He is led around on a leash, chained at night, and beaten when he does not respond quickly enough..
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