The Association of Francophone Visual Arts Groups (AGAVF) is pleased to publish New Generation: Laboratoire 27.01.2019, Ottawa , a zine that promotes emerging Francophone artists and curators from 7 Canadian provinces. This collective publication initiative, carried out as part of the 2019 Trajectories Forum held in Ottawa on January 27, and which marked the 20th anniversary of the AGAVF, brings together the voices of 22 artists and curators. The zine, printed in five hundred copies, is part of the comfort package sent to delegates from Terres à travers, the ARCA national conference, organized this year by the Association of Artist-Run Centers of Alberta, and is one of the activities of the program presented in French.
This zine, New Generation: Laboratoire 27.01.2019, Ottawa , ephemeral, perishable document, easy to reproduce and always in draft form, seeks to bear witness to the discussions held by the delegates of the new generation of AGAVF members during the Laboratory living of the Trajectoires Forum 2019 . This laboratory was, above all, a networking opportunity and, for many, it was the first contact with the national network of AGAVF. The Laboratory gave the delegates the opportunity to present their artistic and administrative work, and also to meet around a discussion on the challenges faced by the new generation. This discussion sought to chart new trajectories for AGAVF.
Also, discussions around more or less long-term pan-Canadian initiatives have been initiated and many wish to continue the conversation. The impact of the Ford government’s cuts on the Ontario Francophonie also mobilized discussions. The pros and cons of publishing a manifesto at the exit of the Forum have been weighed and finally transformed into personal statements that constitute the images and words assembled here. A manifest? Possibly; but certainly, a manifestation of the exchanges crossed by the amalgam of worries, doubts, certainties and common wills. This document is built with several voices which are interwoven in the fabric of our possibilities of encounter, of our common experience as a generation and as a multitude.
On July 9, Anne Bertrand, communications manager at AGAVF, spoke with Rémi Belliveau, artist and candidate this year for the Sobey Prize, as well as president of AGAVF, to learn more about the production context of the zine, and imagine the impact of this networking experience on his artistic practice and that of the participating artists on the AGAVF and on the French-speaking artistic community in Canada.
AGAVF talks to RÉMI BELLIVEAU
artist and president of AGAVF
The AGAVF : You participated in a forum which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the AGAVF on the occasion of which members of the new generation gathered to take and assert a position in the form of a zine / manifesto. In terms of political representation, how can this personal artistic approach be reconciled with the need for a structured and concerted organization?
Rémi Belliveau : In my opinion, more conceptual and / or affective approaches have as much scope as the rational approaches that are normally favored in political language, such as statistics, case studies, viewing exercises, etc. (which are useful anyway). The zine may be conceptual in its form, but above all it contains the feelings of a new generation who dreams of better conditions for artistic creation in French outside Quebec. That’s the strength of this zine I believe – it contains our real desires as we feel them. No sugar coating.
In your opinion, where are the participants in this trajectory, two years later?
RB : Hard to know. We discussed very large issues, such as the lack of post-secondary education in visual and media arts in francophone communities, and since our meeting, the health record of francophone universities in Ontario has deteriorated. It’s not encouraging, but the people who contributed to the zine were writing very enthusiastically. Me that motivates me. I feel like things have improved elsewhere, even if only in our ability to work together as a group, because since the meeting many of us have kept bonds.
And, as president of AGAVF, are you in a position to talk about the impact of this meeting?
RB : The networking was fantastic. For us who live in the East of the country, we were very excited to see so many young Francophones from the West and the Prairies. It is these pan-Canadian ties that have endured, but I would go even further to say that most of us have become friends, that our relationships have been forged closer over time, over time. beyond a simply professional relationship. We are connected on social networks. We support each other in our artistic projects. And besides, I can’t wait to read Alasdair Rees’ collection of poetry which has just been published!
I recognize that the pandemic will have disrupted business, among other things, your exhibition at UQAM. Did this group stay in touch despite this interruption?
RB : The larger group has not formally kept in touch, but a number of members do. During the pandemic, a few of us were part of the editorial committee of the FR magazine which will be launched on September 16, as part of Zones théatrales (Zoé Fortier, Alasdair Rees and myself) and others participated as contributor-author to the review (Elise Anne LaPlante) or as an artist (Annie France Noël).
Rémi Belliveau is an interdisciplinary artist and an Acadian musician from Belliveau-Village (Vallée de Memramcook, NB), an Acadian hamlet located on the Mi’kma’ki, an ancestral territory not ceded from the Mi’kmaq people. Since 2012, his work has been presented in several exhibition contexts in the Maritimes and in Quebec. In parallel with his artistic practice, he co-directed Galerie Sans Nom (Moncton) with Annie France Noël (2014 to 2018), twice played the role of (co) curator (2015, 2018), was in charge of of courses at the Université de Moncton (2017) and contributed texts to the journal Canadian Art.