My research and image making have deep biographical roots: I grew up between Haiti and Jamaica, two post-colonial cultures divided by very distinct languages and traditions. I was raised, after the death of my father at the hands of the Duvalier dictatorship’s secret police, by grandparents who were born and raised in Benin and were devote Muslims and Voodoo practitioners. I spent my youth with them, first as a refugee in Cuba and then as an immigrant in France. They shared parental duties with Jamaican and Israeli relatives, and this complex family network profoundly shaped my worldview. My work transforms these traumatic experiences of linguistic, geographical and social displacement into a multi-layered narrative in different media: first and foremost drawing and painting, but also film, performance, and experimental sounds. It recounts my own story of isolation and exile, and it aspires to be a meditation on the very act of storytelling.
My work is primarily in the traditional methods and history of image making. It builds a visual narrative by juxtaposing images produced through traditional mediums such as painting, drawing, printmaking and photography. Since 2009, however, I have been working more extensively in experimental video, and I have developed and introduced into my work performance art, with the creation of two satirical fictional surrogates, Queen Nappy and YoYo Yolanda. My videos are about painting as much as they are about filmmaking and a strong narrative. I regard them as narrative paintings with a moving-image component and a still-life component, and the added elements of experimental sounds, text, and performance contribute to an investigation of the complexities of memory and place, spoken and body language, cultural traditionalism and the shifting political realities of race identities.
Françoise Duressé is a multiethnic multimedia artist whose work is rooted in the traditional and non-traditional practice of painting and drawing, but also in the art and performance of oral storytelling, filmmaking, and experimental music. She is interested in the relationship between spoken and body language, the complexities of memory and place, cultural traditionalism, and the shifting political realities of race identity. Duressé received a BA in Psychology and a BFA in Painting and Drawing from Wayne State University in Detroit and a MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia. She is currently Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has taught at Zayed University in Dubai, the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, the University of Washington in Seattle and Drexel University in Philadelphia. Her displacement from her native Caribbean to the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe, and now the United States, has had a profound impact on her creative work and views of the global world. Recently, she was the recipient of a Yaddo residency and honored with the Donald and Genie Rice Filmmaker Residency Grant. She has exhibited her work in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Françoise has been a member of the Artnauts since 2008.