Granby’s story as inspiration for an art project

LETTERS. The 3rd Imperial invites the public to come and witness the final stage of the project churning stony ground by the prolific artist Anouk Verviers, in the collective garden of the Ferme Héritage Miner, this Saturday, August 20 at 2 p.m. The artist will set fire to a clay oven and present a unique performance to close this project with a local flavor that lasted two years.

Arriving in Granby with a jar of beans bequeathed by her grandmother, Anouk Verviers immediately took an interest in local history and ancient regional collective practices. The meetings and exchanges have allowed him to establish links with people of different origins to discuss experiences related to the pooling of resources and the notion of a collective. “My grandmother told me that at that time she brought this pot to the bakery and it was the baker who cooked the beans for the whole town. When I discussed it with the people of the region and did some research, I discovered that a similar practice was done in Granby: the making of artisanal butter”, explained the young artist who is currently doing a Master of Arts in London.

In the 20th century, Quebec women had a monopoly on butter. They manufactured and traded it, which gave them some financial autonomy. But the industrialization and mechanization of the sector have completed the loss of this know-how. “We women have lost control of the butter, just as we have lost the jars of beans, these two symbols interested me a lot once they were related”, confesses the multidisciplinary artist. “This project allowed me to think about how we organize things in a community and how we can be dispossessed by a system that we do not control. »

The young woman came to Granby invited by 3e Imperial, a well-known center for artists in the region. “I have access to the art network in London and in Europe as well, but every time I see how lucky we are to have artist-run centers in Quebec. It’s beautiful because they are spaces where you can experiment and create works of all kinds (…). It is a valuable support that pushes me to continue on this path. »

“For me Granby is an exceptional city, because it has an urban feel, but it has an industrial and rural history. It is particularly interesting to reflect on the effects of the economic system on people’s lives. There was a big contrast where there was a lot of industrial activity, but at the same time there were still rural practices in terms of food security. So it was very rich from that point of view. »

An artist meeting the community

“Giving up conversations” is the young artist’s mantra. The testimonials he collected during his time with the 3rd Imperial come from people active in many different circles, such as demonstrations and political activism, collective kitchens, community gardens, and community life. “It was important to have a space to talk about the difficulties that surround this notion of community, unfinished projects of this type, etc. The collective is always presented as something beautiful and easy, because it generates hope. So it was a way to bring people together to talk about it, help each other and think differently. »

It is this Saturday, August 20, that the young woman’s project will culminate. For the occasion, the artist invites citizens of the region to join her in the collective garden of the Ferme Héritage Miner in Granby to light the oven and attend a symbolic collective kitchen. In addition to sharing baked beans, participants will have the opportunity to attend a unique artistic performance by the artist. “For me it is a way to synthesize the experience, and it is something that I want to offer to the people who participated in the project. Other than that, it’s fun to be together in this beautiful garden,” said Anouk Verviers.

For the visual artist, contemporary art must reflect on its relationship with the general population. “I am very interested, because I grew up in an environment where there was no art. We talk a lot about artistic mediation in Quebec, in the sense of reaching out to people and explaining to them. I am less in a logic of explanation. We don’t have to hold hands with people to explain the art to them, if we do something that is rooted in the community, then for them it will necessarily have value. »

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