Last week, Gallery on Queen—an art gallery recently opened by director Nadia Khoury—debuted a new double exhibit by Acadian artist Christine Lavoie and Ontario artist Paul Healy..”
The exhibit features a dozen raku canoe sculptures, a personal collection titled “Canoes” by Lavoie, as well as paintings by Healy. In a private viewing last Friday, visitors were encouraged to explore the original works situated carefully around the room, as Lavoie engaged with her audience.
Each sculpture displays details which are significant in their own ways. For Lavoie, the installation and its inspiration are very personal.
“I decided to do canoes because I was with my dad,” Lavoie said. “I remember him telling me that his great grandfather used to cut down a tree and dig it out every spring after sugar season and put all of his maple sugar in it. He would go down the Saint John river and then sell his products in Fredericton.”
Lavoie and her family have carried on the tradition and continue to sell maple syrup, and after their first supply sold out, Lavoie feels there is a good indicator for business’ future.
Learning about her past led Lavoie to question the origin of canoes, especially the role they played for the Acadians. The first canoes she created were in honor of the First Nations and Acadians, while the later ones were inspired by what she described as “her place in the universe.”
Lavoie felt it was also important to address the issue of endangered species.. She decided to incorporate carvings of bees and grasshoppers into the sculptures to remind people that some of the species we see in abundance may easily become extinct in the near future.
“It is connected to me and where I come from, but also where we are going together as a society, as well as our connection with the First Nations,” said Lavoie of her installment.
The gallery also displayed paintings by Paul Healy. Described as both tranquil and provocative, Healy’s animal scenes were particularly to be admired. Overall, Healy and Lavoie’s work created a warm and welcoming atmosphere for guests.
According to Khoury, Gallery on Queen’s will be expanding by opening the lower level to the public. Art pieces that are currently in storage will be available to the public in the new year.
Photos by Ashley Fish-Robertson.