The Thacher Gallery at the University of San Francisco Presents ‘Visions of the Past, Islands of the Future, New Work by Rivka Valérie Louissaint’

SAN FRANCISCO (March 6, 2024) – The Thacher Gallery at the University of San Francisco (USF) has announced a new exhibition - Visions of the Past, Islands of the Future, new work by Rivka Valérie Louissaint - on view from March 6 to April 14, 2024. The exhibition explores the multifaceted realities of the African Diaspora by putting the histories of Haiti and Cuba on center stage, inviting us to draw lessons, and imagine the sustainable future we can create together.

An opening celebration with a performance by the artist will take place on Wednesday, March 6, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the Thacher Gallery, presented as part of USF’s Global Feminist Forum.
What does it mean to be part of the African Diaspora today? Through a series of multimedia pieces, artist Rivka Valérie Louissaint investigates the stories of her homeland of Haiti and its island neighbor, Cuba. Together, these works reveal Haiti’s and Cuba’s history and role in the inception of African Diaspora in the American continent. These pieces also work to connect the ways these two countries can be sources of visions of possible futures for the descendants of Africans brought to the Americas long ago.
Bringing together the many elements of Louissaint’s art practice, Visions of the Past, Islands of the Future will include an installation of paintings on paper that invite viewers into the natural environment of the islands. Paintings on canvas will depict revolution and the shared histories of Haiti and Cuba. Performance—dance, drums, poetry and prose—will also inform the exhibition.
Rivka Valérie Louissaint, also known as Kakou (Kah-koo), is a Haitian cultural worker currently based in Oakland, California. As a working class, female, Queer, Black, Haitian immigrant, Louissaint explores what it means to have these social identities in relation to both current and past socio-political structures. A recent MFA graduate of the UC Berkeley Art Practice Department, they are currently a Gerardo Marín Postdoctoral Fellow at USF. Louissaint’s work has been exhibited at BAMPFA, Berkeley; SOMArts Cultural Center and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Ortega y Gasset Projects, Brooklyn; New York Academy of Art, New York; Oliver Art Center, Oakland; and Rosemary Duffy Larson Gallery, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They were a recipient of the Murphy Cadogan Award in 2021, and a 2022 AXA Art Prize finalist.

About the Thacher Gallery at the University of San Francisco

The Thacher Gallery is a public art gallery in the University of San Francisco’s Gleeson Library where creativity, scholarship, and community converge. The gallery is free and open to the public 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. daily.

About the University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco is a private, Jesuit Catholic university that reflects the diversity, optimism, and opportunities of the city that surrounds it. USF offers more than 230 undergraduate, graduate, professional, and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, law, education, and nursing and health professions. At USF, each course is an intimate learning community in which top professors encourage students to turn learning into positive action, so the students graduate equipped to do well in the world — and inspired to change it for the better. For more information, visit