One glimpse of the tiny painted house that folk art legend Maud Lewis shared with her husband Everett, and the contrast between her joyful artwork and her life’s deprivations jumps out. One glimpse at her photo and you realize, for all her smile’s shyness, she must’ve been one tough cookie.
But, beneath her iconic resilience, who was this Maud, really? How did she manage, holed up in that one-room house with no mod-cons (pardon the pun), with a miserly man known for his drinking? Was she happy? Was she miserable? Why did she marry him and not her first love? Did she love the man who kept her? Did painting save or make her Everett’s meal ticket?
Then there are the darker secrets that haunt her story—how she rejected the daughter she gave birth to, and how Everett was murdered. Now, imagine if Maud Lewis rose from the dead and spoke her mind, freed of the stigmas of gender, poverty and disability that marked her life and shaped her art.
Against all odds, she rose above these constraints—and this is where you’ll find my Maud, risen and above, as naïve and wise, unfettered and feisty as can be as she tells her story her way,
illuminating the darkest corners of her life. In possession of a voice all her own, this Maud demonstrates the agency that hovers in us all.