The first movement, which is essentially an introduction to the theme, consists of establishing a link between two generations, as well as between two milieux; that is, between retired farmers and young, start-up artists. Therefore, we asked the farmers to give us an on-camera, firsthand account of their vision of agriculture – of their life, their experiences and their history. On the other hand, we asked the young artists to interpret these stories through an art form.
You will find on this page the videos of the retired farmers and a brief presentation of the young artists that produced an art work to showcase their moving testimony.
To see the results, we invite you to visit the exhibition. You can view the calendar of the exhibition on the home page.
Clément Tremblay is a retired farmer in Messines, in the MRC de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau. In 1947, he studied at the Mont-Laurier Agricultural School. He then worked on the family farm, which today has been taken over by his daughter.
Emily is an artist, activist and educator based in Montréal and Wakefield. Her recent works include a self-published 'zine featuring DIY approaches to art and action, as well as a series of on-growing performances and site-specific works that activate land in both urban and rural settings. http://emilyrosemichaud.com.
"For my piece I chose a cattle farmer from Blue Sea Lake, Mr. Clément Tremblay. The sprouted cow-hide is made of burlap and wheat, one of the principal ingredients in cattle feed, next to oats and corn. Over thirteen days, the wheat transforms from germinated to sprouted grain, then dries to a sweet smelling grass. It is made to recall our inevitable reliance upon the lands we inhabit as well as the farmers working so hard to fulfill our basic needs."
Vianney Turcot is a retired farmer in the MRC de Papineau. His market gardening business, which he started, specializes in the production of several varieties of potatoes and has now been taken over by his daughter.
Heiwa Michaud is an artist who obtained her degree in visual arts at the University of Ottawa. What inspired her in this area are the political implications and philosophical connotations that influence today's art trends. Heiwa uses her paintings to convey messages and to show people things that they might not have seen or heard otherwise. Her artwork is inspired by a variety of critical reflections, with the objective of questioning certain aspects of life, the environment and the society in which she lives.
"Mr. Vianney Turcot's video inspired me because I see the potato as a strong symbol of our present way of life. Today, potatoes are eaten mainly as fries or chips. As people eat them, they think only of the final product but, in fact, there is quite a process involved behind the scenes, including the work of the farmer."
For this artist, potato chips represent a powerful symbol of today's consumption habits, because they are produced in large quantities, often from food products paid for at the lowest possible price (and generally made with oil from genetically-modified plants), produced in bulk and sold with the aim of generating the highest possible profits.
Viateur Pagé is a retired farmer in the Masson-Anger sector of Gatineau. Mr. Pagé's market gardening farm has now been taken over by his son, but he still likes to lend a hand part-time. He thinks that it is important to support local agriculture, where products are much fresher than imports.
Isabelle Godbout Picard is a newly enrolled student in visual arts at the Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO). She is taking time to further pursue her artistic development, which until now, has been mainly through self-portraits.
"I was sent a video presentation of Mr. Pagé that reflects his passion for life on the farm. I have attempted to illustrate his story while, at the same time, discovering the richness and diversity of the local farmers in our region. As Mr. Pagé so aptly put it: “It is important to encourage and help each other. Buying local is a personal choice."
Wally Barber is a dairy farmer located in Shawville, in the MRC de Pontiac. Mr. Barber took over the family farm because he could not see himself doing anything else but farming, a vocation that he has always enjoyed.
Mélanie Myers is an artist from Gatineau, Québec. She obtained her degree in visual arts from the Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO), as well as a Masters in Fine and Media Arts from NSCAD University in Halifax. Her creations vary, depending on the particular context. She generates situations that emphasize and question the social practices of the place where she intervenes. Her work has been displayed in Halifax, Gatineau, Ottawa, Toronto and Montréal.
I started my project by drawing a picture of my apartment as it appeared on Google Street View. I wanted to do the same with Wally Barber's farm, but since it is located in a rural setting, it has not yet been covered by this website. Instead, a "screenshot" from the video gave me enough to reproduce the elements that represent his daily life. I drew the buildings, windows, debris, fences, the open fields and asphalted areas, its overall look and methods of transport. Then, through these elements, a comparative study of the habits and occupations of the people who live in these two places becomes possible: Wally Barber and Mélanie Myers.
Bruno Alary is a retired farmer in the MRC des Collines-de-l'Outaouais. His dairy farm, located in Luskville, was taken over by his son, and very soon now, by his grandson. Mr. Alary still likes to be involved on the farm and considers agriculture to be a true vocation.
Valérie Mercier works mainly with photography. She is particularly interested by our reactions when faced with adversity. Using allegory to describe a feeling and then studying its aesthetic qualities or its presence in three-dimensional space is the basis of her creativity.
In her creation Les Batisseurs (Monolithe) [The Builders-monolith], the determination and labours of men are shown as precious raw materials needed to accomplish a project. The result is a creation greater than the men themselves; a monolithic barn rises in the plain view of all. This monument is like an uncut jewel, representing the work that awaits the future generations.