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Riopelle Dialogues: Nine cultural mediation projects soon to be deployed across Canada

Riopelle Dialogues: Nine cultural mediation projects soon to be deployed across Canada

Canada NewsWire

Artists from coast to coast will bring Canadians to discover or rediscover Jean Paul Riopelle's legacy as part of the artist's centenary celebrations in 2023

MONTREAL, March 30, 2023 /CNW/ - The Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation, in collaboration with the Department of Canadian Heritage and Culture pour tous, is proud to announce the Canadian artists who have been selected to realize 9 cultural mediation projects as part of the Riopelle Dialogues Program, one of the most ambitious cultural mediation programs ever seen in Canada.

The winners, recently selected by a committee chaired by the Honourable Michèle Rivet, C.M., as part of a Canada-wide call for projects, will benefit from a grant as well as customized support to help them create, in communities from coast to coast, projects that will allow Canadians of all ages to discover or rediscover Riopelle's oeuvre.

This new program, one of the major projects of the official celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the artist's birth happening this year, has been made possible thanks to a 1.3 M$ grant from Canadian Heritage.

All projects announced today will be completed in the upcoming months. The Canadian public is invited to follow the realization of each project in real time on

Projects Across Canada

Territory: Echoes and Dissonances

Artists: Mathieu Gagnon, Mathilde Forest, Craig Commanda & Jobena Petonoquot

Province: Ontario

This project aims to bring together a group of visual artists, both Indigenous and non-Natives, to create works that will reflect a rediscovery of the local urban landscape of the Ottawa-Gatineau region, of its dissonances and its possible futures. This collaboration will be marked by meetings and workshops with citizens, as well as allies, and guided by specialists in local history and toponymy. The project will be organized in collaboration with the Mauril-Bélanger Social Innovation Workshop, an organization working for social justice and transformation. Four creators will be supported to experiment and integrate elements from this research field, the result of which will be a restitution in the public space. This will be done as much by updated traditional practices as by using technological tools, emphasizing both a material and immaterial relationship with nature. The project will be carried out by focusing on the specific characteristics of each artist in a dynamic of knowledge exchange.

Automatic Landscapes: Exploring the Art of Jean Paul Riopelle through Artificial Intelligence

Artists: Juan Ramirez & Laura-Beth McDonald

Province: British Columbia

Through a series of workshops with schools on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, students will use descriptive language and artificial intelligence (AI) to create art inspired by the work of Jean Paul Riopelle. Centered around the themes of nature, Indigeneity, and migration, artworks will be showcased in a large outdoor art exhibit at the Malahat Skywalk, a 600-meter-tall treewalk. The exhibit will feature large-scale images set within the natural landscape, allowing visitors to walk through and view the Riopelle-inspired works while learning about Riopelle's life and the students' work.

Art Mawoi'mi

Artist: Kassandra Simon

Province: Newfoundland and Labrador.

At the crossroads between Riopelle's oeuvre and Indigenous cultures, this gathering will allow to freely express movement through paint, creating a mural to honour a new sacred space: Mawoi'mi (powwow) grounds for the Benoit First Nation in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Sans Titres / Without Titles

Artists: Ryan Gray & Dawn Shepherd

Province: Nova Scotia

This project aims at co-creating, with Nova Scotia communities, performances integrating visual arts and circus arts inspired by the works of Jean Paul Riopelle and to hold community dialogues around the "Ode to Nature" theme.

Territoires des rêves (Dream Territories)

Artists: Patricia Lortie & Sabine Lecorre-Moore

Province: Alberta

Territoires des rêves by the Conversation Collective is a temporary and participatory art installation anchored in nature. For the duo Patricia Lortie and Sabine Lecorre-Moore, the choice of a tapestry will allow them to tie together the dreams of Alberta's francophone, Indigenous and anglophone communities. Travelling from Northern to Southern Alberta, they will visit five schools where they'll offer workshops on writing on fabric and then collect the students' dreams. In response to the Riopelle Foundation's call to "go towards nature", Lortie and Lecorre-Moore will install the partially finished tapestry outside on a structure made of wood. The work will be exhibited for a few weeks in the sculpture park of the Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre (KOAC), a public space combining art and nature, and the people of Alberta will be invited to complete the installation by adding their own dreams to it.

Riopelle, the Artist on the Wing of a Northern Migration

Artist: Marie-Hélène Comeau

Territoiry: Yukon

This project will give members of the French-speaking community of the Yukon the chance to become familiar with Riopelle's oeuvre by focusing on the subject of migration, and more specifically, on the changes in identity that people have experienced when they left their place of origin to settle in the territory. This reflection will be done through creative work in a workshop context of reflection, sharing and listening. These workshops will take place in two stages. First, there will be the creation of individual artists' books (painting, collage and creative writing) based on the migration history of each participant in order to prepare everyone for the final creation. This creation will take the form of community canvases inspired by Riopelle's masterpiece L'Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg illustrating the migratory birds of his adopted land.

Artist Residencies at Académie Sainte-Famille

Artists: Rotchild Choisy & Caitlin Wilson

Province: New Brunswick

A series of artist residencies will be hosted in one of the two former dormitories on the 4th floor of the Académie Sainte-Famille Social & Cultural Centre in Tracadie-Sheila. Lasting two weeks each, the residencies will include a community workshop day to which representatives of different social groups will be invited. Caitlin Wilson's prints are created using a combination of woodcut and intaglio methods. She explores her home province of New Brunswick by car, hiking, canoeing and even snowshoeing and documents her observations in drawings to the point of becoming completely absorbed by the ecosystem around her. Rotchild Choisy is interested in the perception of interpersonal relationships that people share with their environment. The contrast of colours, gesture, textures and the reinterpretation of Haitian and African symbols are important in his creations. Symbolism and allegory are also used to criticize intercultural, social, and political relations.

Kanitau-unahitshesht. Homage to the High Trapper

Artists: Amélie Courtois, Benoît Côté & Marie-Renée Bourget Harvey

Province: Quebec

This Homage to the High Trapper/Kanitau-unahitshesht is an inverted reference to Riopelle's famous masterpiece L'Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg, the "high trapper" – Kanitau-unahitshesht in the Ilnu language – a nickname coined by André Breton, leader of the Surrealist movement. To create the series of paintings in L'Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg, Riopelle took long walks on Isle-aux-Grues and Ile-aux-Oies and collected various objects and fauna and flora samples. He would then place these objects on wooden boards and stencil them with spray paint. The youth of Mashteuiatsh, in the region of Lac-Saint-Jean, will be called upon to apply a similar process to various objects from their immediate environment found on their Indigenous community's territory to create their own artworks.

Trois Entretiens (Three Encounters)

Artists: Agathe Piroir, Hélène Dorion, Joséphine Bacon, Chantal Ringuet, Jamasee Pitseolak, Peter Krausz, Catherine Farish, Olivier Bodart & Monique Martin

Provinces & Territories: Nunavut, Price Edward Island, Quebec & Saskatchewan

This project aims at creating a dialogue between poetry and visual art, materialized in an artist's book on the themes of nature, indigeneity and migration explored by Jean Paul Riopelle in his lifetime. Under the leadership of Agathe Piroir, this project brings together Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan through artists Hélène Dorion, Joséphine Bacon, Chantal Ringuet, Jamasee Pitseolak, Peter Krausz, Catherine Farish, Olivier Bodart and Monique Martin. Each artist will meet with citizens in his or her province or territory around themes dear to Riopelle. All the prints and poems will be exclusive and available in limited edition. This work will be exhibited in several places: at Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), at the Musée des métiers d'art du Québec, at the Atelier-Galerie A. Piroir, as well as at the Biennale internationale d'estampe contemporaine in Trois-Rivières.

Detailed descriptions of these projects and biographies of the selected artists are available online on


"The Riopelle Dialogues Program is a tribute worthy of this larger-than-life artist, and we are proud as a government to support an initiative like this one. Inspired by the works and process of Jean Paul Riopelle, the projects are both an extension of the master's vision and the product of the creativity of a new generation of artists. Like Riopelle, these creators are inspired by the richness and beauty of Canada. It's now their turn to promote our artistic and cultural diversity, here and around the world."

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, C.P., M.P., Minister of Canadian Heritage and Quebec Lieutenant

"Jean Paul Riopelle's centenary celebrations are a unique opportunity for Canadians from coast to coast to discover or reconnect with the invaluable legacy of this legendary and world-renowned Canadian artist. The projects announced today will have a long-lasting impact for communities across the country, as indelible marks of these historic celebrations. The Riopelle Foundation is very proud to partner with the Government of Canada and Culture pour tous to offer this ambitious cultural mediation program which already promises to inspire the artists of today and tomorrow for decades to come."

Manon Gauthier, Executive Director of the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation and General Commissioner of the artist's centenary celebrations

"Witnessing the links forged between artists and citizens as part of Jean Paul Riopelle's centenary celebrations, the cultural mediation projects unveiled today contribute to the rich dialogue around the oeuvre of this major artist. Culture pour tous is honoured to join the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation and the Government of Canada in collaborating on this unique program, which enables the deployment of inspiring projects that will mark the collective imagination and mobilize communities from coast to coast."

Michel Vallée, CEO of Culture pour tous

Never-Before-Seen Celebrations for a Canadian Artist

Orchestrated by the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation, the festivities surrounding Riopelle's 100th anniversary in 2023 offer the general public a unique opportunity to (re)discover this Montreal-born artist who has marked on the history of art. Featuring a wide variety of artistic disciplines, from classical music to circus, theater, cinema, literature, museum exhibitions and educational institutions, the official program of the centenary celebrations is giving rise to a multitude of cultural projects in Canada and around the world. For five seasons under the theme "One With Nature", a host of prestigious partners contribute to making these celebrations – the most important ever planned for a Canadian visual artist – a resounding success, promoting Canadian talent and inspiring new generations of artists through Riopelle's impressive legacy.

Discover the centenary celebrations' official program on

About the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation

Envisioned by Riopelle in the 1960s and established in 2019 by a group of Canadian philanthropists, the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation's mission is to celebrate and broaden the appreciation of Riopelle and his oeuvre in the history of Canadian and international art, to support and inspire emerging visual artists, to encourage creative exploration and experimentation, and to promote teaching and learning. The Foundation also serves as a repository and centre of scholarship in the documentation, publication, and discourse on the oeuvre of Riopelle. 

Facebook:  |  Twitter: @FdnJPRiopelle  |  Instagram: @fdnriopelle | LinkedIn:  

About Culture pour tous

The mission of Culture pour tous is to deploy accessible, inspiring and inclusive strategies and actions aimed at making culture known and appreciated, an essential factor in the development and well-being of communities. Culture pour tous also aims at engaging organizations and citizens in and with culture to shape together our collective culture. 

Facebook: | Twitter: @Culturepourtous | LinkedIn:

SOURCE Fondation Jean Paul Riopelle

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