MARIGOT–The Collectivité on Saturday unveiled to the public its short-term urban project “Faces of St. Martin” a stunning series of giant black and white photos of well-known figures in the St. Martin community, placed on buildings and walls in Marigot.
A preview and guided tour of the photo locations was given to the media in the company of the photographers and models. An introduction was first given in the garden of Hotel de la Collectivité by President of the Culture Commission Yolande Sylvestre.
The project was inspired by French contemporary artist “JR “(Jean René) who uses photographic collage techniques to exhibit on walls around the world, drawing the attention of those who do not frequent museums. His work blends art and action.
The Collectivité noted that the exhibition “illustrates the diversity of the St. Martin population, placing people into the heart of the city, allowing visitors to study the inhabitants of the island through their expressions. The thought-provoking photos generate emotions and questions, and strengthen ties. The artistic initiative also invites residents to rediscover urban areas from a different perspective.”
Professional or amateur photographers living in St. Martin were invited to participate. Each candidate proposed 10 recent photos. Eight had to be adult portraits (men or women), one photo of a natural subject and one architectural photo.
The photos were then blown up and printed on large format blue back paper, similar to election or subway advertising posters and glued to the walls. The prints were done in Guadeloupe, and the company Guitz attached the portraits to the walls or buildings. Eventually the photos subjected to the elements will peel and deteriorate over time, this dissolution process being part of the artistic approach to the project. The plan is to renew the project each year.
Judging criteria included: respect of the theme, image staging, and visual strength of the work, frame originality, and quality of rendering.
Some of the instantly recognisable faces include Sir Roland Richardson, Patou from Youth Waves, singer Malaïka Maxwell, and Anne-Karine Fleming. Most of the portraits are on the streets surrounding Hotel de la Collectivité with others on the façade of the Omnisports Hall and the old prison on Fichot Street.
The jury comprised Art Professor Claudio Arnell, Photographer Alain Duzant, and from the Collectivité Director of the Territorial Archives Stephanie Dargaud, and Carole Tondu from the Culture Department.
The selected photographers were Steph Deziles, Nathalie Beaurain, Pauline Rebin, Ismaa Sidi-Ikhlef, and Glanny Baloula.
The project was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and Communications.