Roseman Robinot

1944 | Rivière-Salée, Martinique, France

Guyanese artist (French Guiana).

Roseman Robinot was born in Martinique, leaving the island to train as a physical education and sports teacher in metropolitan France. At 21 she graduated and was posted to teach in her homeland. In 1965 she joined a dance company there, the Groupe folklorique martiniquais, also said Grand Ballet de Martinique, directed by Louis Boislaville and American choreographer Ronnie Aul. It was during a trip made by the company to New York that she discovered, on a visit to the Guggenheim, Woman Ironing (1904) by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), which she later said gave birth to her as a painter. In 1968 R. Robinot took a post in the Île-de-France region. Over the following decade she studied the arts and practised colourist painting. She began exhibiting in Paris in 1971, notably at the 8th Salon des Peintres et Sculpteurs des Antilles et de la Guyane. As a member of the Union of Women Painters and Sculptors, she would participate in the 1978 Salon at the Musée du Luxembourg. This was in part thanks to the encouragement of Jeanne-Michèle Hugues (1920-2004), a painter and intellectual who introduced R. Robinot to the Académie Julien, then directed by André Del Debbio (1908-2010). That same year she moved to French Guiana, where she continues to live and work. In the early 1990s she enrolled in the summer programme of the Beaux-Arts de Paris, studying drawing and engraving.

In 1996 R. Robinot represented French Guiana at the 23rd São Paulo Biennial in Brazil, presenting a series of works, four of which figured in the exhibition catalogue. These untitled works, made between 1993 and 1995, are accompanied by a text from the Guyanese poet Serge Patient. The following year the artist founded the FEPALOWEY Association (regarding making, saying, watching, looking), designed to transfer curatorial knowledge to French Guiana (Biennale du Marronnage, Matoury), particularly knowledge gleaned from working with Martiniquan painter, co-founder of Atelier 45, Raymond Honorien (1920-1988) on the installation of one of his first solo exhibitions, at SERMAC in Fort-de-France in 1977.

R.Robinot’s practice reveals the traces of memory imprinted on living landscapes and bodies, real or fabricated, imbued with a colonial odour. Working from the indigenous Mahury petroglyph inspired her to begin work related to identity (the American Creole archipelago, Afro-descendence) in which she experiments with what I call a neo-indigenous style, after the process developed in the Caribbean, particularly in Haiti and French Guiana. Following the model of the Afrofeminist anthropology of Zora Neale Hurston, Beryl Gilroy and Suzanne Roussi-Césaire, R. Robinot, also an author, captures (im)material data from her own experience of the North Amazonian terrain, her own studies and research trips, which she then transposes into her works.

At the age of 70 R. Robinot resumed her studies, enrolling in a master’s degree in Social Science at the University of French Guiana. Her thesis concerned a syncretic African-Guyanese cult: the Feast of Saint-Esprit in Régina. In her large studio in Rémire-Montjoly – a dedicated exhibition space in French Guiana – she continues to work on her series Empreintes, Marques and Marquages, which now span several decades, producing both multiples and paintings. Her works have been acquired by national institutions, including in the territories of French Guiana and Martinique, and by Caribbean collectors.

Paul-Aimé William

Translated from the French by Flora Hibberd.

A biography produced as part of “The Origin of Others” research programme, in partnership with the Clark Art Institute.

© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Roseman Robinot — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Roseman Robinot, Untitled, 1995, enamel, canvas, acrylic, © adagp, Paris

Roseman Robinot — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Roseman Robinot, Untitled, 1993, silk screen on silk paper, Japanese paper on cardboard, acrylic, © adagp, Paris

Roseman Robinot — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Roseman Robinot, Transportation 2, série Mémoires 98, 1998, reprography, acrylic and charcoal on paper, 70 x 100 cm, FRAC-Guyane, © adagp, Paris

Roseman Robinot — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Roseman Robinot, Toutes les femmes sont des Vénus, 2002-03, © adagp, Paris

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