Guadeloupean visual artist Marielle Plaisir won the 2021 Southern Prize in the USA

Marielle Plaisir - Photo: Screenshot Awards ceremony on YouTube, South Arts

“Seriously?! I just can’t talk, I am so happy, it’s just a great recognition, I don’t know, it’s wonderful, thank you, I am very touched, I don’t have the words, it’s amazing, it’s amazing”, these are the words spoken in English by Marielle Plaisir when the jury announced she was the lucky winner of the 2021 Southern Prize. This was the 5th award ceremony and it took place virtually on Sunday 14 June. Nine candidates from several American states (Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Florida) competed for this award, which reflects the best of the visual arts in the southern United States.

Beforehand, each participant was invited to introduce themselves to the jury members. Marielle Plaisir, who lives in Florida, USA, said she was originally from Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, “a small, small island that you can’t even see on the map of the world”.

The earthly delight garden (Le jardin des délices )
The earthly delight garden (Le jardin des délices) by Marielle Plaisir – Photo: Marielle Plaisir’s Facebook page

Then, the visual artist explained her inspiration, her work : “My work is a sort of open window on societal behaviour and I am triying to examine the concept of social domination and exploring issues of colonialism (…) First, my work is a critic of prejudice and I am repressing violence, discrimination, prejudice by beauty. I am a sort of construction of another world (…)”

Through her creations, Marielle Plaisir uses several media such as painting, sculpting, photography, installation, film and performance…

Guadeloupean artist is a graduate of the École supérieure des beaux-arts et des arts décoratifs in Bordeaux (France). Her work is known internationally (Europe, Africa, USA, Caribbean) and she has already won prizes and grants, including the gold medals at the Santo Domingo and Sao Paulo Biennials and a grant from the South Florida Cultural Consortium.

As a textile artist, she is also collaborating with the French design furniture company Roche-Bobois.

Marielle Plaisir, the winner of the Southern 2021 Prize, will receive US$25,000 and a two-week residency at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences in Georgia.