HERITAGE 2016 COLLECTION
By Marie Burgos and Francis Augustine
Interview with Photographer Francis Augustine
Together with his wife, Interior Designer Marie Burgos, the couple has worked from sketch to production to create the Heritage Collection - a unique, modern compilation of home décor items that embrace their Martinique origins.
The Tray is part of your design signature, what are the origins of the tray?
If you look at the line of the tray, it has a Caribbean origin, sending you back to the West Indies colonial period. In the XIXth century, when slavery was abolished, the Martiniquan authorities, seeking to replace former slave laborers who had abandoned plantation work once they were provided their liberty, recruited several thousand laborers from the Indian French colonial settlements of Madras, Pondichéry, Chandernagor and Karaikal.
This wave of new arrivals brought to the Island a rich, colorful and folkloric variety of custom, cuisine and religion - the classic spicy Colombo dish, the Hindi religion, the Madras fabrics, and the tray, just a few examples of their powerful influence.
The tray was also used by the Indian Tamil natives for religious celebrations. They arranged the tray with fruits and flowers. However, each inhabitant of the island would use it in its own unique way. Whites used it to serve beverage and juices, African descendants to carry objects, food, and even newborns. In fact, Indians felt offended to see how this very religious items could be desacralized.
Why did you name your collection Heritage?
Your culture is your heritage.
In Martinique, we have a very wide cultural heritage. It transcends from our ancestors and our family in the Caribbean Islands. It is all a part of my personal childhood memories.
What is your personal vision of the tray?
It is a heritage, but I added my personal touch into it. I brought my culture to New York. The same way the Indians brought the tray to Martinique.
I wanted to adapt the tray to its new destination, giving it a contemporary twist with clean lines so it could fit more easily into New York’s modern lifestyle.