The imaginary territory of the immigrant

The paintings in Wapizagonke come from a reflection on landscape and territory. Using a visual imagery already present in my work, this new series of paintings is a personal response to very universal questions suggested by the migrant crisis, elsewhere as well as close to me. Being an immigrant, I try through these paintings to represent the immigrant’s imagination in front of a territory to be crossed, explored. This territory, promising beyond risks, is above all an imaginary space, a construction. A visit to the Wapizagonke Lake, northeast of Montreal, several years ago, triggered an interrogation about my own personal relation to the territory.

While camping on Lake Wapizagonke, with my family, I had my first encounter with the Quebec landscape as a young child. This place is part of my family’s story and we have camped there often. Since then, I have been back a few times with friends. This time, I had come back with my family, with children. Our children, the third generation to tread these places, discovered through me a personal vision of it. Lake Wapizagonke is a long and slender lake, with sandy beaches accessible only by canoe and steep cliffs on the eastern shore. I felt a strange attachment. Strange, because it was a strong emotional bond: being an immigrant, I adopted french-Quebec culture, I work in painting, a rather cosmopolitan line of work, and I find myself on a lake with a native american name. Despite these different cultural trajectories, I had come to identify myself in a new way with a place, I had imagined a territory.

Wapizagonke brings together paintings made between 2016 and 2018.