Martine Birobent chose to leave us on March 30, 2016. She got medical assistance to end a severe lung and brain cancer. Despite her warm laugh and communicative creative drive, she often said she had already been dead for many years. Birobent had a difficult childhood, and consequently travelled without precise destination all of her young adult years.
She crossed the Atlantic on a sailing ship in 1980 and settled in Montréal, where she got married, had a daughter and started a new life teaching in elementary schools and making art in her back-alley garage. She produced over 550 pieces from paint, collage, yarn and fibre, doll assemblages, rocks, concrete, fibreglass resin, and lots of wood cuttings and carvings.
In 2011, she left Montreal to open La Galerie des Nanas in Quebec's Eastern Townships. She was artist in residence at the 2013 Biennale Internationale d’Art Hors-Les-Normes in Lyon, and again artist in residence at the 2015 Biennale Out Of The Box in Geneva. She has also shown her “Muzzled Dolls” at la Halle-Saint-Pierre in Paris, at Galerie Coeur au Ventre in Lyon, and at several Outsider Art Fair booths.
La Galerie des Nanas has created a fund in her memory to support untrained women artists through a residency programme and work acquisitions.
by Jean-Robert Bisaillon