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Marie Jose Nadal
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Marie Jose Nadal

My name is Marie Jose Nadal. My father was Nadal, and my grandfather was an artist also, so I have art in my family.

I had to leave Haiti to finish school in Canada. I spent three years there. That is where I learned English. I had expositions also in Canada, because I had teachers that were very good and helped me. Canada is my favorite country. I went there every year for vacations, so I feel I am Canadian also…and French, too. I traveled a lot, but now I cannot travel because I have problems with my knees.

Besides painting, I studied so many other things, like anthropology. I descended from Indians. I have three Indians native to Haiti in my family and in my blood. I wanted to learn everything about them. I like archaeology, and I liked learning how to write and also, sculpture. Well, I do a lot, I can’t tell you how many things I do!

A representative from France Gerald Blancourt came to Haiti and asked who can write a book about Haitian art. Almost nothing had been written about it. Someone said, “Marie Jose Nadal has started already; she has almost finished her book. So that is how he came to visit me. He said, “You are to come to France to make the book (La Peinture Haitienne), because they is where we work and we will need to talk, and I can’t do it here.” As I was just divorced from my husband, I said, “Okay, I am coming.” I loved Paris, and I spent twenty years there (laughter).

After I came back, I was in Haiti when the earthquake struck. I wanted to cry when I saw my Art Center. It was a part of my house. That is where I also teach young people how to draw. The gallery level fell down and the art collection was damaged. I had to give the paintings to the Smithsonian to be repaired and they had to find what was underneath. The Smithsonian has most of those paintings. I don’t know where they are now. I know I have a few, When I asked for the list, they said, “We have nine, maybe more.” I don’t know how they will repair them. I would like to see them again.

Well, this is all my life. I’m always invited to exhibit. I told you I spent twenty years in Paris. I had to come back here (Haiti), because I have four children and eleven—no, fifteen grandchildren. (Laughter) I am a good grandmother—I have to see them, and I ask all of them to do drawings for me; all love to give me paintings and drawings! I’m a very happy person.






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