Marita Dingus was born and raised in Washington State. She continues to maintain her childhood home in Auburn where she raises goats, chickens and two cats. Marita attended parochial school where the nuns encouraged her talents, using mimeographed copies of her drawings as images for her classmates to color. During high school, her brother-in-law questioned why she never drew Black people, awakening her self-consciousness. Marita attended Temple University and studied abroad in Rome, where she was exposed to ancient Roman and Renaissance art. After earning her BFA, Marita enrolled in a study abroad program in Morocco. This first-hand exposure to African art resulted in her changing from painting to sculpture. Marita travels whenever possible to Asia, Africa, Europe and across North and South America, harvesting inspiration and ideas that can be incorporated into her art.
I consider myself an African-American Feminist and environmental artist. As a child my father would bring his discarded engineering paper home from work so I could use the backsides for drawing paper. In a 1982 visit to a beach in Morocco, a nearby garbage dump with “rats as big as cats” caught my eye, leaving a deep emotional imprint about the vast waste humans produce. I’ve also come to the viewpoint that people of African descent were “used” during the institution of slavery and then callously discarded. So, I make art out of discarded materials to express an empowering missive. The goal of my art remains to show how people not only survive but prosper under dire circumstances. From the foundation of my Afro-centricity I shape my art and garments, using repurposed fabric, leather, plastic and other found objects to create eclectic and inspiring pieces to convey a powerful message about the sustainability of the human spirit.