Journey to the heart and soul of Quebec folk art

June 20, 2008

Celebrating the 400th anniversary of Quebec City

Journey to the heart and soul of Quebec folk art
at the Canadian Museum of Civilization

Gatineau, Quebec, June 19, 2008 — What do a wooden weather vane, an eggshell painting and a grader made of bottle caps have in common? Starting June 24, you can find out in a brand-new exhibition on Quebec folk art.

Produced by the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Heart and Soul: Quebec Folk Art takes you on a journey through 400 years of creativity with 400 remarkable pieces — surely one of the most comprehensive surveys of Quebec folk art ever mounted.

Heart and Soul brings together a variety of impressive works — sculptures, paintings, textiles and more — that demonstrate the talent of folk artists, past and present. There are antique and contemporary pieces, traditional and non-conformist works.

“Presenting folk art created by Quebecers is our way of celebrating the 400th anniversary of Quebec City,” explains Victor Rabinovitch, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. “And taking Quebec as an example,” he added, “we also wanted to showcase this fascinating, but little known, art form. With its originality and its message, folk art can hold its own in the art world, and it remains relevant today.”

Heart and Soul shows how folk art reflects society. One section of the exhibition comprises works that illustrate some typical — and paradoxical — Québécois character traits (rooted/diverse, loyal/rebellious, proud–storytelling, fun-loving–over the top).

“Contrary to what is often said, folk art is far from naïve,” notes Jean-François Blanchette, exhibition curator and specialist in material culture. “Besides being gifted, folk artists are reflective people who are very aware of their environment. Their works manage to capture the essence of a culture.”

The works of some of Quebec’s most interesting contemporary folk artists are featured in one section of the exhibition, demonstrating that folk art is still alive and well. Visitors can get to know these artists through recorded interviews, and discover what motivates their creativity.

An amazing variety
The exhibition shows the many facets of this highly diversified art. Visitors will be impressed with the variety and quality of the works on display: remarkably refined animal sculptures; a gallery of characters carved with a humorous touch; models showing great attention to detail; paintings and drawings; everyday objects; a collection of hooked rugs; and religious works, such as nativity scenes and crucifixes.

Among the most remarkable pieces are an imposing granite sculpture commemorating the victims of the war in Kosovo, a violin carved out of a single block of stone, and paintings made from sand and shell.

Tribute to Nettie Covey Sharpe (1907–2002)
Most of the works in the exhibition belong to the Museum of Civilization, and the majority are part of the Nettie Covey Sharpe collection. Mrs. Sharpe, one of the greatest collectors of folk art in Canada, bequeathed her magnificent 3,000-piece collection to the Museum. Her gift led to the creation of what is now undoubtedly the finest collection of its kind in the country.

June 24 opening day
This exhibition is the Museum of Civilization’s way of celebrating the