George Rodrigue: Legends and Lives of Acadiana

  • curator
  • George Rodrigue at the Acadiana Center for the Arts

“I am really painting characters of the past that still exist today. In that respect I feel I am a contemporary artist. I just have the advantage that other folk artists in other cultures do not have in being able to find the people of the past. I can go down to the levee and talk to these old people, and they are just like they were in the 1800s. They haven’t changed. They still live the same way. As a contemporary artist, I can get firsthand knowledge of these people because they still exist, but I have to paint them in the past, so I paint them as ghosts. I paint them all white. They really do not touch the sky; they don’t touch the ground…suspended between heaven and earth. Although they are in shadows and everything else around is very dull – the people glow. They look exactly like the landscape. That is what gave the style. I wanted to paint the people who reveal how they were affected by the humidity, the mosquitoes, the swamp, the very rough hard life they had, and one way was to paint them in a primitive fashion.”

-George Rodrigue from “The Cajuns of George Rodrigue.