F. Bonneville Del. et Sculp., “Moi égal à toi. Couleur n’est rien, le cœur est tout; n’est tu pas mon frère?" ["Me Equal to you. Color is nothing, heart is all; aren’t you my brother?"], portrait of a young Haitian woman, 1791-.
The use of the familiar ‘you’ (‘toi,’ ‘tu’) to address the implicitly white, European audience for this engraving—as opposed to the more deferential, formal ‘vous’—is stirring. This is an attempt to envision a Haitian ‘Marianne,’ a sort of Lady Liberty, with her head-wrap in the shape of a Phrygian cap. The sitter wears a triangle, the Jacobin and Haitian revolutionary symbol of equality; both the triangle and the arch within it also recall the importance of Freemasonry throughout the Afro-Atlantic world from the ‘Enlightenment’ onwards. As John D. Garrigus writes,
Freemasonry played such a critical role in the political culture of the independent nation that at least one historian concludes that “a more or less hidden hidden masonic life” existed in Revolutionary Saint-Domingue.