Mounia: Yves Saint-Laurent’s ex-muse became a well-known painter

A few years ago, Mounia Orosemane put her fame and her art at the service of orphan children through her association “Mounia pour l’Amour de l’Enfant” (Mounia for the Love of a Child). The former muse of the famous French fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent who is native of Martinique is today a well-known artist-painter. met her at the 8th edition of the Pool Art Fair Guadeloupe.


The bright colors of the many paintings presented by the artist-painter Mounia in her stand at the Pool Art Fair Guadeloupe which took place on June 17 and 18, attracted everyone’s look. School children who visited the fair stopped there to contemplate the pictures. They were too young to know the one who was Yves Saint-Laurent’s muse in the 1980s, who made the covers of the biggest fashion magazines such as Elle International and Vogue and the one who also became a singer in 1988 but they certainly asked lots of questions to their parents after the souvenir photo they wanted to make with the artist.

Because of her affection for the famous French couturier who died in 2008, Mounia had placed on a low little table in her stand a black and white photograph of the creator and her…


Bernard Buffet, César and Henri Guédon as mentors

But how did she go from the major fashion shows to the brush? “I always love painting. Thanks to Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé, as muse, I was very often invited to exhibitions, openings and parties. I learned to look at the work, the technique of the various painters I met, especially the mixing of colors. I also had the chance to meet renowned artists. One of them, the painter Bernard Buffet, urged me to paint, I also knew the sculptor César who also encouraged me to paint, who followed my work and who even suggested to me never to go to art school. He told me I had something special… The painter and musician Henri Guédon was also very important to me at the beginning of my career”, said Mounia.

Obviously, these great artists had early discovered the talent of Mounia whose works are now listed at Drouot in Paris. Mounia also received in 2009 the Medal of the National Order of Merit for her artistic work and in 2015 the Medal of the Legion of Honor for her humanitarian action.


An orphanage and a school in Haiti

Indeed, the former top model who is from Martinique decided to put her art and her fame at the service of Martinican little orphans and the Haitian young children who lost their parents in the disastrous earthquake of January 12, 2010 which killed 230 000 people. A large part of the proceeds of the sale of her paintings is for her association “Mounia pour l’Amour de l’Enfant”.

After the disaster, she created an orphanage in Onaville, Croix-des-Bouquets in the West Department, one of the ten Departments in Haiti. Five adults are in charge of taking care of the 30 or so young orphans who sleep and eat – three meals and a snack a day – in the institution.

Morever, the artist who introduced compulsory education as a priority founded a primary school (from grade 1 to grade 5) inside the orphanage which is attended – in addition to the children living on the spot – by more than a hundred schoolchildren coming from the surrounding area. Every day, the total number of children is nearly 150.

Mounia did not forget to mention those who helped her to reconstruct the building which houses the orphanage, ie the “Régiment du Service Militaire Adapté” (RSMA) of Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana, and Alain Sauval, Counselor for Cooperation and Cultural Action of the French Embassy in Haiti.


“Rêv ‘Bonheur” in 24 paintings

Realizing that she must not disappoint the great expectations of the children, Mounia regularly travels to Haiti to visit her little protégés and check the smooth running of the orphanage. She must find financial means so she sells her work.

However, to participate in the 8th edition of the Pool Art Fair Guadeloupe, Mounia the perfectionist did not just take a few paintings in her studio. The painter came with an exhibition consisting of 24 paintings entitled “Rêv’ Bonheur” (Dream Happiness) and with bags.“This collection is a mixture of us, of our intermingling. And there are many warm colors that symbolize Africa, the Caribbean. There are also many spirals that send you back to yourself. In my work, I respect the others. In this collection, I wanted to show the multitude of things around us that are part of this happiness but we need to know how to capture them. In my paintings, there is poetry, there is sensitivity, I am in a happiness period”, said Mounia.

It is certainly a period of well-deserved positivity for the artist who was “traumatized” by the loss, in 2009, of her “best paintings”.


An artist who demands justice

She took legal action against the DHL company which was responsible for transporting its paintings from New York to Fort-de-France. “The collection arrived in New York without incident, the problem occurred on the way back, 6 paintings were stolen. Two months later, they found part of the collection but the paintings were damaged. DHL which was responsible for my work did not take care of it. I suffered a great financial loss because this collection had already been booked for an exhibition by the Regional Council of Martinique then, I had to show it in France and Germany. DHL refuses to compensate me”, said Mounia. More than ever, the artist is very determined to obtain compensation.

After eight years of legal battle, the Fort-de-France Court of Appeal will give its verdict in this case during this year 2017 but Mounia already warns that if things do not improve, she reserves the right to speak about that in all the media…

But the artist will also continue to express herself through painting.