Smithsonian commissioned this painting by Haitian artist Frantz Zéphirin for the September 2010 issue cover. The work by Zéphirin is a response to Haiti’s earthquake, with symbols of the nation’s suffering and its struggle for recovery. Philanthropic birds, representing former President Clinton, President Obama and international aid agencies, deliver messages of hope to the Caribbean nation. Bags marked with dollar signs, Zéphirin says, “show that to build a new Haiti with more justice and more educational opportunities we will need a lot of money.” At the top of the painting there is a single eye: “That’s God, and you can see he is crying a little when he sees what’s happening in my country.”
Fifty percent of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the Smithsonian Institution-Haiti Cultural Recovery Project and the other half will go to the artist and the Gallerie Monnin, which represents Zéphirin and plans to donate part of its proceeds to the Dallas Monnin Foundation; the foundation’s mission is to protect the environment in Haiti through reforestation, to conserve watershed areas and to conduct civic education classes for children in the Port Salut area.