While working as a hairstylist in Haiti, Marie Therese Dupoux Marithou, who began drawing at age 6, experimented with several art mediums prior to having her talent discovered by the director of the Haitian Museum of Art of Port-au-Prince.
It was then, at age 30, that Marithou was encouraged to paint. She found immediate success.
The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, in celebration of Women’s History Month, is displaying Marithou’s work, Vessels of Memory, through the end of the month.
The collection, on display in the library’s gallery, is comprised of acrylic on canvas and board, mixed media on wood and mixed media. It depicts the process of thought and remembering.
Marithou’s work was selected because it “exhibits memory and history in their multiple and specific; collective, plural and yet individual layers,” Babacar M’bow, the international programs and exhibit coordinator for the Broward County library system.
“It was because she picked up the brush that she has been able to create works beyond all traditional definitions of Haitian art,” he said.
Through the use of rich colors and vibrant expression, Marithou said that her collection of paintings and mixed media are inspired by “people that surround me, events, places; things that are happening every day. The paintings here are from my red period; mostly 1996. They speak about life and the mind.”
Marithou, a painter for 29 years, said that she also writes, creates sculptures, ceramics and papier-mache. Her work has been shown in galleries in Haiti, Miami, Washington, D.C., Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico and throughout Europe.
Marithou said that through her art, she has the desire to share what she “feels as a woman; an honest Haitian woman.”
She currently lives and paints in Port-au-Prince.
Ralph Latortue, Consul General of Haiti, said that Marithou’s work “is different from what is known outside of Haiti,” and that she represents a “new generation of artists emerging with inspiration from the older generation.”
Julie Hunter, director of the African-American Research Library, said she had heard about Marithou’s work, but did not realize its depth until she saw it.
“Not only is it powerful and moving, it teaches us about Haitian history. It speaks to what we want here at the library; it speaks voices,” she said.
Hunter added that “Haiti is a country that respects art; we are glad to have Marithou here.”
To view a short collection of Marithou’s ceramics and sculptures on line, visit www.marithou.com
Photo: One of Haitian artist Marie Therese Dupoux Marithou's sculptures.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Vessels of Memory
WHEN: Through March 31
WHERE: African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., near Fort Lauderdale.