Jude Papaloko Thegenus
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jude Thegenus, better known to some as Papaloko, is an artist, whose work is born through trance, the act of falling into a deep meditative state and then being possessed by a spirit whose purpose is to paint strokes of life onto canvas. At about age six, Jude moved on to study sculpture and ceramics, in addition to his dimension interest, at the Art Institute of Saint Jean Bosco and later completed his education at Lycee Antenor Firmin. Thegenus has mastered all the disciplines of Haitian art, from native to modern. He has developed a unique and personal style of working with acrylics. His one-of-a-kind textural compositions create a serene excitement.
Thegenus’ work experiences are in the field of education, illustration, graphic design, sign making and many other disciplines of the visual arts. Solo and group exhibits have been held in his native Haiti as well as Trinidad, Canada, France, and the United States. Papaloko’s work can be found internationally in galleries, private homes, cafés, restaurants and nightclubs. He is currently putting the final touches on a eighteen-year project at Mango’s Tropical Café on Ocean Drive in South Beach, where he was commissioned to design a tropical atmosphere (that covers the entire the facility) within the realms of his extreme creative talent, with paint that shines vibrantly during the day and turns 3-dimentional in the evening hours. A full mural by Papaloko is also featured in the private home of championship boxer Lenox Lewis, as well as at locations such as Tap Tap in South Beach, Club Paradise in New York, and outside the United States in Aruba, Switzerland and Panama.
Rich in natural passion, Thegenus brings a vivid awareness of man’s closeness and attachment to the “Spirit World” through his art. After completing a period of study for the Roman Catholic priesthood, Jude determined that a more culturally rooted spirituality would be the road he would take and thus begun a more in depth study of the Vodoun Temple. In 1989 he turned again to music forming a group, Loray Mistik, a vodou pop band. Prior to Loray, Jude got his feet wet with the popular Rara band Koleksyon Kazak. Branching out with Loray allowed Jude to more fully exhibit his talents while teaming up with the power of Vodou ceremonies, panorama, and songs of the drum.
In 1999 Jude founded in Miami Jakmel Art Gallery, Cultural Center and Caribbean Backyard, a center for cultural diversity, awareness, positivity and creation. Jakmel Art Gallery, currently located at 2703 NW 2nd Ave., in the heart of Wynwood Art District, houses and displays original artwork by local, national and international artists and maintains a contact-based art-sharing network for artists.
Jude Thegenus is a son of Haiti who also led the call for justice in times of civil right violations, such as with the case of Abner Louima’s brutal sodomizing at the hands of New York police officers. Jude’s own sense of moral outrage led him to organize fundraisers for Louima’s defense fund, like an “International Music Festival” in Miami’s Design District, along with other South Florida performing artists.
In 2004 Jude established a non-profit organization, Papaloko4Kids, with the mission of empowering the youth from all communities through the arts. Having witnessed the tragic living conditions that many children experience in Haiti, he committed himself to help the youth in need using the talent he was given, his art. Papaloko4Kids came to life with the goal of providing a space for the children to learn music, dance, arts and crafts, express their talents and be exposed to a positive environment to help their growth with a sense of community and unity.