Art transplanted to Gables
Myriam Nader, 39, helps operate a family-owned art gallery that features the works of Haitians -- and she has a longing for home, imperfect as it is.
After graduating from New York University in 1988 with a degree in information systems, Myriam Nader returned to Haiti, thinking she would stay permanently.
But after her infant son was diagnosed with a chronic illness,
Nader found herself packing her belongings in 1999 and moving herself and
two young children to South
Florida, where her son could get the medical care he needs.
Nader notes that her family was doing well in Haiti. Her father,
Georges S. Nader, is the founder of Nader's Art Galleries and Nader's Art
Museum in Petionville and
Port-au-Prince. The gallery has an inventory of more than 20,000 pieces of Haitian art.
The 37-year-old family-owned business represents most of the major artists in Haiti.
Earlier this year, Myriam Nader decided to expand the business and open a South Florida branch in Coral Gables, Galerie d'Art Nader at 1911 Ponce de Leon Blvd. She runs it along with her brothers John and Georges Jr.
''I always wanted an art gallery here to show people what Haitian
art is all about,'' said Nader, 39, whose exhibits include $30,000 primitive
pieces by long dead Haitian
masters to more contemporary works in the more affordable $2,500 range.
But opening a business and moving to Miami haven't come without major sacrifices.
Raised in Haiti's elite class, Nader admits having to adjust to a much more middle-class lifestyle here.
''It would cost me too much here to live the way I lived in Haiti,'' said Nader, who has a commuter marriage with her husband, a Port-au-Prince resident.
Like many Haitians in South Florida, Nader finds herself longing for home, despite its problems and tensions.
''We have a rich culture,'' said Nader, whose grandparents on both sides immigrated to Haiti from Lebanon. ``We are mixed.
``We are not only black, white, mulatto. We are not only boat people, but we are also professionals.''
In fact, four of the seven Nader children are involved in the family art business, two are electrical engineers, and the oldest, Ralph Nader, is a cardiologist at Miami Heart Institute.
''My father believes in education,'' said Nader, noting that her father made sure that she and her siblings had the best schooling in Haiti and the United States, even though he had to leave school early to help support his family.
'He always said to us, `No matter how much money I leave to you,
you could spend it in a day. But what I leave to you in the brain will
stay with you forever.' ''