800 Rue du Square-Victoria, Montréal, QC H4Z 1C3
Kelly Sinnapah Mary lives and works in Guadeloupe.
Through various mediums, the artist creates images that refer to the tales and biblical stories of her childhood, mixing cruelty and enchantment, while exploring postcolonial dilemmas and resistance to self-invention.
A graduate of Toulouse University (France) in visual arts, her work has been shown in Guadeloupe, France and internationally, including Miami (PEREZ Art Museum), Washington DC (IDB Gallery), Hong Kong (Osage Foundation), New York (Pool Art Fair) and Paris (Maëlle Galerie). Her works are currently on view at the 34th Biennale of Sao Paulo (Brazil).
Approach and works on display
Kelly Sinnapah Mary is developing an introspective body of work made up of memories and objects from her childhood.
She uses this gentle universe to speak about dramatic subjects such as violence against women, post-colonial violence, resilience and resistance in reinventing oneself.
The line between the act of creation and everyday gestures is so narrow that the artist cannot really define when she really starts to make work.
Cahier d’un non retour au pays natal (2018)
Cahier d’un non retour au pays natal is a series of installations, paintings, tapestries and objects that the artist began in 2015. The evocative title, which references the famous work of Martinique poet Aimé Césaire, synthesizes much of her recent production.
The artist’s ancestors left India for Guadeloupe in the 19th century following an agreement by the French government to resupply the French colony with labor after the abolition of slavery. Many families who crossed the ocean at that time thought they would only stay for the duration of the contract, but very few were able to return home.
Sinnapah Mary collects snippets of memories, assembling them through juxtaposition and layering. By integrating her “neg*” otherness as an Indian woman into European fairy tales, she offers a narrative peppered with references to Hindu rituals, sea creatures, and dense Caribbean forests. In these unraveled tales, the artist suggests a childhood threatened by acculturation where a disturbing and continuous presence hovers.
*Creole word meaning human or person of color.