Philippe Dodard was born in Port-au-Prince in 1954 and completed his primary and secondary education at the Petit-Séminaire Collège Saint-Martial and the Cours privés Roger Anglade. In 1966, at the age of 12, he won first prize in drawing at the Junior Seminary of Collège St-Martial.
At a young age, his parents, Georgette B and Étienne L Dodard, introduced him to painting and drawing. He joined the “Poto Mitan,” a free art school directed by Jean Claude “Tiga” Garoute, Patrick Vilaire, and Wilfrid “Frido” Casimir, when he was 15 years old. They were all famous painters in Haiti’s artistic sector during the twentieth century.
A brilliant start to a career
Although he began painting at a young age, his career did not take off until 1981. The Marassa gallery in Pétion-Ville hosted his first major exhibition thanks to the support of Michèle Frisch (director of the MUPANAH at the time). An exhibition that takes place around the theme “Aquatism”. And his success has been undeniable since then.
His paintings, which have been shown in numerous museums around the world, will be the subject of aesthetic debates about the modernity of Haitian contemporary art. Many art critics, particularly in Haiti, Brazil, France, the United States, and the Caribbean, were immediately drawn to him.
It should be noted, however, that he was a trained accountant. Following these studies, he enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts (now known as ENARTS), followed by the National School of Bordeaux to study plastic arts. He eventually specialized in educational graphics.
On his return from Bordeaux, he was appointed head of the Deschamps publishing house’s graphic department. He was the artistic director of the ironwork company “Multi-ad” for ten years. This business was founded in collaboration with Monique Gardère.
He studied at the Kripalu Yoga Center in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This approach will lead him to study the being, the spiritual, and the samurai and martial arts. He was even led to Kundo practice. He then studied Reiki science (initiation to alternative medicine).
Philippe Dodard, the current director of the National Superior School of Art (ENARTS), intends to carry out the mission that this institution has set for itself since its inception in the 1980s: to preserve Haitian culture and the influence of its art.
“…Improve the quality of training, upgrade the various departments and offer students the best opportunities to promote the development of their talents, refound the school in perdition, renovate the foundry (to become again at the service of the Haitian nation) and restore the monument of the Indian are, among others, the objectives set,” he noted in an interview with the local newspaper.
Committed artist and entrepreneur
The cultural advisor for Elisabeth D. Préval (former First Lady of the Republic of Haiti), he will install on the Place Saint-Pierre and the Champ de Mars “Plas timoun”, an art therapy center that focuses on rehabilitating street children through the arts.
He is saving Port-au-pride, Prince’s this historic site designated as a national heritage, as the head of the ironworks site in the reconstruction project of the iron market, which was destroyed in the January 12 earthquake. This one-of-a-kind reconstruction was dedicated in January 2011. “It was a rewarding experience where I had the opportunity to apply my knowledge of ironwork and design,” says Dodard.
“By partnering with Dimitry and Evelyne Craan on this restoration project, I had the pleasure of training many workers. And I am happy that the project has achieved its triple dimension: to give back, through citizen involvement, life to the city; to succeed in this challenge of human management (about 400 workers were at work) and to put in place one of the symbolic monuments of the identity of Port-au-Prince, much visited by tourists,” he added.
The “Dodard of the Year” award is given each year to an artistic personality who has distinguished himself or herself in an artistic or sporting field. Madeline Paillère, an art critic, was the first winner, according to Philippe Dodard.
Franckétienne (painter and writer), Aubelin Jolicoeur and Nancy Roc (journalists), Lionnel Abelard (Karateka), Beethova Obas (musician), and, most recently, Edwidge Danticat have all received awards.
Dodard’s work: criticism
In 2006, his work sparked a debate about Haitian art and modernism, with participants including Michel Philippe Lelebourg, Michel Frisch, Franketienne, Bob Corbett, Greg Thomas, Babacard Embou, Nkil Negou, and Legrace Benson. Dodard’s Work was published in 2006 as a result of a large-scale exhibition of his work at the Broward Library Museum.
“This book demystifies Picasso and his authority in contemporary art. The contributors look at my African, Native American, and European-inspired work. This document reflects my very spiritual bent for art, my interest in voodoo.” he says. His paintings, acrylics on fabric reflect Tiga’s influence, holding the “Artistic Rotation” method (which “Potan Mitan” advocated) that goes through four stages: art, craft, technicality, and science.
“The use by an artist of sensitive media: earth, clay, ceramics, paper and all disciplines of art is a source of enrichment and can push his creative sense,” he told the newspaper.
He has made his mark on the postmodern art scene with his captivating, deep, and rebellious style. His work inspired American fashion designer Donna Karan’s Spring – 2012 collection (inspired by the painter’s black and white inks). The two will work together to launch a project to promote Haitian handicrafts on a global scale.
He founded the company “Jivan” with Michèle Frish and Roger Jaar to create a collection of jewelry inspired by Haitian culture. He was awarded a Rotary International Foundation grant in 1980, allowing him to continue his work.
Philippe Dodard has achieved far more than many of his contemporaries. His net worth is now estimated to be more than $102 million.
Philipe Dodard, a master of Haitian painting, knew how to mark his time. He is one of the few entrepreneurs in Haiti’s artistic field to have reached this level.