Patricia Barchant : “I follow the flow on my inspirations”

In 2007, Patricia Barchant became a professional painter after practicing drawing and painting as hobbies and after being an assistant, a decorator and a trainer. Six years ago, in the town of Le Gosier in Guadeloupe, she launched “Gîte-Art-Tradition”, an innovative project which combines art with tourism in an ecological environment.

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Patricia Barchant presents herself as a self-taught painter. She is from the city of Pointe-à-Pitre and she left Guadeloupe when she was 7 for France where she spent a large part of her adult life. “I always liked drawing. When I was a child, I started by drawing “Les contes et légendes” (Tales and legends). When I was a secretary in Paris, I had a hobby : take drawing classes in Montparnasse etc. In 1981, I had the opportunity to go to Mexico City where I was a decorator for a year. When I came back to France, I also took classes to become a graphic designer”, she told.

In 1995, Patricia Barchant returned to her native island. She worked as a saleswoman for about ten years but she continued to paint at home by passion. Today, the artist has already organized about ten personal and collective exhibitions. In 2003, eight years after she arrived in Guadeloupe, the young woman decided to show her work to the public by putting on her first personal exhibition at the Archipel des Sciences ; it is a series of watercolours on the “Alicaments” or the local plants and trees (breadfruit, pineapple, gros thym etc) which can cure diseases.

In order to succeed this work, the artist carried out a long research work before. In March 2006, her second exhibition titled “Rythmes et Couleurs” (Rhythms and Colours) took place at the Centre Culturel Rémi Nainsouta in Pointe-à-Pitre. She explored the world of traditional dance, especially gwoka.

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A professional painter

In 2007, Patricia Barchant changed her professional life : “I decided to become a full-time painter, it was a new challenge for me”, she said. In June of that same year, the artist organized her third personal exhibition but her first as a professional painter. That time, she looked into the history of boats in the Caribbean; her exhibition titled “Asi on dòt soley” was made in collaboration with the Riverains Tours travel agency and Atelier Odyssée. As she did it for the “Alicaments”, she gathered material about it : “I read books and magazines, I took photos of our various traditional boats as the saintoises and the yoles but also the contemporary boats before doing the sketches and painting”, she explained.

Her fourth personal exhibition took place in a restaurant in Jarry, Baie-Mahault, and consisted of ten “kakemono”. On these paintings that roll down, she made Japanese style watercolors.

Then, she continued with an exhibition of about ten works depicting orchids : “I also did research before painting. I also wanted to write the name of the flowers on the paintings”, she said.

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A preference for representational painting

Since 2015, Patricia Barchant participates in the collective art exhibition organized, every year, by the International Zouk Festival of Guadeloupe (FIZ) during the last week of July at the Centre Culturel Rémi Nainsouta. “It’s a stimulating experience. It’s nice to meet other artists, to see their work and to talk to them. For every edition, we have a new theme to work on”, she said.

The name of the painter is more and more well-known in the Guadeloupean artistic world. “I prefer representational painting even if I sometimes paint abstract work. I like painting nature, portraits. For some time now, I also have been doing collage. I like bright colours because they represent cheerfulness, at the moment, I am in my blue period”, she said.

In addition, the artist learnt painting on T-shirt with Guadeloupean painter Joël Nankin. With him, she also painted a fresco. She made “gratitude stones” which would have spiritual properties. From 2009 to 2011, a period when she was a trainer in applied arts at the ASFO training centre, she taught this technique to her trainees.

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A project to combine art with tourism

From 2011 to 2012, Patricia Barchant attended a training course to manage a tourist etablishment because she intended to take up another challenge. Indeed, in 2012 the artist decided to combine art with tourism in an innovative project that she presented to the Regional Council of Guadeloupe in order to get European funds. In concrete terms, she wanted to build on a plot of land she already owned a house which will have an art gallery on the ground floor and a gîte to receive tourists on the first foor. Today, it is difficult not to see when people go through the centre of Le Gosier this nice concrete and wooden house painted green, rose and blue with varnished parts and this pretty fresco made by Patricia and her son.

“It took me five years to make this projet a reality. I already received tourists from France, Germany, USA, Martinique and Guadeloupe. The gallery has been converted into an area where I give drawing and painting classes to children and adults several days a week while school is in session and during the holidays. I also have an area that serves as a studio, here I express my creativity. People visit the areas where I exhibit paintings, they can buy my works and sometimes the tourists who live in the gîte also buy one of my paintings when they leave Guadeloupe”, explained the painter.

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Some ideas to live the “ecology attitude”

The artist also wanted to give an “ecology attitude” to this place she named “Gîte-Art-Tradition”. She first imagined a garden where she planted among other things tropical flowers, banana trees, coconut palms, a papaya tree, sugar canes, indigo, verbena, peas, peppers, aubergines, tomatoes…

After troughes for birds, a compost tub, barrels to collect rainwater, she just built a pond with “golomines. “Gradually, I have ideas. I follow the flow of my inspirations, it is like a spring”, she said.

If Monday and Tuesday are dedicated to administrative paperwork, from Wednesday to Saturday, Patricia who lives in Pointe-à-Pitre goes to her workplace in Le Gosier and there is no lack of occupations. “I can settle down in the studio to paint a canvas, I can settle down outside the studio to paint T-shirts, I can give drawing and painting courses, I can garden etc”, she said.

At the moment, Patricia is thinking about various themes like Carnival or the river for her upcoming exhibitions. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of “La Route du Rhum” in next November, the artist intends to present a series of small paintings inspired by this famous transatlantic sailing boats race which takes place from Saint-Malo (France) to Guadeloupe every four years. “I also draw inspiration from the news”, she said.