“When I make art, I feel like I belong,” says the 26-year-old artist Edwige Charlot, who was born in the Paris suburbs to Haitian parents, grew up in the small town of Deep River, Connecticut, and graduated from Portland’s Maine College of Art. Although the young artist is just recently out of school, she’s already received critical accolades and several awards, among them an emerging artist award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation in Boston and an artist residency at the Tides Institute & Museum of Art in Eastport. Charlot caught the attention of the Portland art community when her cut paper, textile, and thread installation, Creator/Creations, filled the window at SPACE Gallery last year.
Now, she’s just come off her first solo show in Portland at 3fish Gallery, which featured 20 print-based works on paper. Charlot’s broad range of media also includes white-on-white gouache renderings of leaves and strands of beads that evoke intricate lace, gossamer curtains, and embroidered nightgowns. “I am interested in so-called women’s work, because I’ve witnessed the power women have as the holders of tradition, history, and culture,” the artist says. Deeply influenced by her Haitian-French heritage, she frequently explores race and identity in her richly-layered works that combine images and media.
In her ongoing project, I.M.Migration, she combines visuals with sound. “It explores what happens when you leave a place. What do you take? What is left behind?” explains the artist, who believes that, ultimately, all of her art work is an attempt at “finding home.” Fortunately for us, it seems she may be a little bit closer to finding the answer. When asked about her first visit to Maine, Charlot recalls crossing the Piscataqua River Bridge and driving into the state. “Something washed over me, this sensation I had not had for a long time,” she says. “It was a feeling of coming home.”
Edwige Charlot | edwigecharlot.com