Absurd cultural institution closures
In my last post, I mentioned how lucky I was to see my work exhibited this fall in three solo exhibitions. I also expressed the hope that there would be no cancellations related to the pandemic. Alas, two of the three presenters had to close their doors... While I understand the seriousness and complexity of an unprecedented health situation, I regret the absurd decision of the Legault government to ban access to museums and exhibition centers. After all, these are places that do not attract crowds, where the 2 meter distanciation is so easy to respect, where there is nothing to touch. The inconsistency of the decree suggests that arbitrariness has interfered with an imperative to act, whatever the cost. However, rather than preserving public health, these closures only deprive the population of beneficial access to the arts and accentuate the precariousness of many artists. The president of the Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels (RAAV), Moridja Kitenge Banza, in a message addressed to the members on September 30, announced that he would approach the Ministry to make our voices heard. Unfortunately, the government continues to turn a deaf ear...
Abitibi relatively spared
Under the circumstances, I still consider myself lucky enough. None of my exhibitions have been completely cancelled. Since the alert level in Abitibi never reached the color red, the Val d'Or VoArt Centre was even able to welcome visitors for the entire duration of the Les états liminaires event in which my Northern Crossing series occupied the main hall.
The director of the center, Ms. Carmelle Adam, told me how my photographs captured the public's attention, raising many questions, especially about my special relationship with my models - my own daughters - who had to work in extremely cold conditions.
Inventiveness as a remedy in the kingdom of Saguenay
With the second wave hitting the Saguenay region hard, the Centre national d'exposition (CNE) in Jonquière was forced to close down to the public just two weeks after the opening of my exhibition Beyond the Looking Glass, which occupies the main hall. Far from giving up, the dynamic team at the CNE redoubled its inventiveness to find ways to make its exhibitions shine in a different way. The result: a Trio ready to take to the drive-through!
The kit that sells for $10 includes a 360° virtual tour of the exhibition with a virtual reality headset for cell phones + a creative art workshop + a snack .
For the moment, the Trio is only available to Saguenay residents. It must be ordered in advance at 418-546-2177 ext. 4604 or by email email@example.com.
I take my hat off to the CNE for its efforts to develop innovative digital content as an alternative to regular exhibition visits.
An opening video presentation
Before the closing of the CNE, since circumstances did not allow me to stay in Jonquière to attend the official opening of the exhibition, I made presentation video. In it, I discuss the functions played by imagination in the psychic development of children and I give some keys to understand the works in my photo series Beyond the Looking Glass.
Don't forget to display the video's English subtitles of needed.
Northern Crossing goes virtual too
It's quite a peculiar experience: putting on an exhibition knowing full well that no visitor will come to see the works. This happened last November at the Peter B. Yeomans Cultural Centre in Dorval. Since the City decreed that the center would remain closed at least until January 11, 2021, the center's team decided to put a digital version of the exhibition online to continue offering cultural content to citizens. After hanging the photographs from my series Northern Crossing, a photographer came to make a 360º reproduction of the exhibition room. The capturing technique used here does not allow the viewer to get close to the images, but gives a good general rendering. For my part, I made a video to present the series. Links to the virtual tour and to my video are available on the Cité de Dorval website: ville.dorval.qc.ca
To promote the virtual event, I also made this short video intended for social networks. Feel free to share it!
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Sara Giguère and Karine Lacoursière who are doing a wonderful job at the Peter B. Yeomans Cultural Centre. As well, I would like to thank the City of Dorval for giving the green light to the digital version of the exhibition. The experience is certainly not the same for visitors, but given the current context, I feel it is important to highlight the efforts that are being made to support artists and find alternatives to compensate for the inept closures of cultural institutions.