International Festival d’Art Singulier – Roquevaire –
This Festival was initiated in 1990
as the brainchild of Danielle Jacqui (Celle qui peint – She who
paints), one of the best-known French ‘outsider’ artists (or
in the French vernacular ‘artistes singuliers’).
With the help of many of her fellow
‘artistes singuliers’ in the Provence region, including such
famous names as Raymond Reynaud, she has seen the Festival grow into one
of the premier ‘outsider’ art events in France, attracting
artists from all of Europe and overseas.
6th International Festival d’Art Singulier - Roquevaire
This was my first participation in the Festival. With the assistance
of a small grant from Arts Queensland I travelled to France with my husband
and attended the Festival where I exhibited a group of twelve works on
paper. In honour of the Millenium the scope of the Festival had been enlarged
to include invited overseas artists including a number with international
It was a real thrill to find my works being shown beside those of people
like Albert Louden, Nek Chand, Chris Hipkiss, Damian and Delaine Lebas,
Mose Tolliver and Malcolm McKessen - and of course Danielle Jacqui and
7th International Festival d’Art Singulier - Roquevaire
The Seventh and most recent Festival held in October 2002 involved the
participation of over 300 artists. Designed as a celebration of ‘art
postal’ (mail art) the Festival was divided into two main sections
– two-dimensional items (envelopes) and three-dimensional (sculptural)
works, plus a special section for artists’ ‘carnets’
I contributed to all three sections and found the experience both challenging
and stimulating - it was in these works that the “Ancestors”
theme that was to figure so strongly in most of my work since then, first
First for Spain - El Arte Singular, Zaragoza 2001
Following my participation
in the 6th International Festival d’Art Singulier, Roquevaire-Aubagne
I was privileged to be the only Australian
among 82 artists chosen to take part in the first-ever major exhibition
of ‘outsider’ art in Spain - El
Arte Singular, Zaragoza 2001.
Mail Art - ‘Art Postal’
In 2000 during our stay in
Aubagne I became aware for the first time of mail art, or as the French
term it ‘art postal’. This art form has long been highly regarded
in France, by ‘outsider’ artists in particular. probably due
to its inherently celebratory and non-commercial nature.
In addition to the well-established
custom amongst artists of exchanging greetings in this way (birthdays,
Christmas, New Year etc) there are also a number of regular festivals
featuring mail art.
For many years the French Postal
Service has prided itself in taking special care of ‘art postal’
works sent through the post - it has a special section devoted to ‘art
postal’ and its own museum of postal art.
Since first venturing into this area in 2002 I have derived great pleasure
from taking part in a number of other mail art festivals in France. In
the near future I am hopeful that it may be possible to stimulate interest
in the promotion of similar international festivals here in Australia
for this exciting and eclectic art form.