Category Archives: quebec city

Whale Bone Sculptures


I was drawn to this sculpture by Manasie Akpaliapik in the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec because it reminded me of a sculpture by Luke Airut we have at the Winnipeg Art Gallery called Dream of Plenty. dream-of-plenty-luke-airut

Both sculptures are by Inuit artists from Nunavut who come from families of carvers.  They were both created from whalebone which is a very difficult medium to use since it is fragile and must be carved slowly and carefully with hand tools. Both sculptures have a wonderful symmetry about them and both feature faces. dream-of-plenty-by-luke-airut-winnipeg-art-gallery
In both sculptures some areas have been left rough and others polished smooth. sculpture-detail-manasie-akpaliapikThere is a delicate balance of sections of detailed carving with areas of natural whalebone textures. 

The Winnipeg Art Gallery has another connection with the artist whose work I saw at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. The Inukshuk piece that is on permanent display in the roof top garden at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is also by Manasie Akpaliapik. inukshuk

Other posts……

Finding Two Old Friends
Inuit Interactives
Up On the Rooftop

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Canada, quebec city, Winnipeg, winnipeg art gallery

Looking Cool the Inuit Way

inuit men with snow gogglesI spotted this artwork on a sheet of metal on the stone wall of a pub in Quebec City.  It shows two Inuit men out on the tundra wearing snow goggles or in the Inuktitut language ilgaak ᐃᓪᒑᒃ.  The slit in the googles improves visual acuity helping focus on things in the distance. inuit snow goggles

It reminded me of this pair of snow goggles we have at the Winnipeg Art Gallery that we use in our interactive programs with kids. They are made of antler and caribou sinew.  They are used to protect hunters’ eyes from the sun and the glare of the snow and to prevent snow blindness. The goggles fit tightly to your face so that light can only enter through the slits. The kids on our tours think they are pretty cool!

abraham rubin winnipeg art gallery

From the Winnipeg Art Gallery collection

Can you find the Inuit goggles in this sculpture by Abraham Anghik Ruben? The piece is called Spirits of the Great Hunt.  The drummer is sitting on the head of a man wearing the goggles. 

Other posts…….

What is it? 


Leave a comment

Filed under Canada, History, quebec city, winnipeg art gallery

Who are the Wendat?

wendat tipiAt one time there were about 25,000 Wendat First Nations people in North America. Wendat lived in 18 to 25 villages, some with up to 3,500 people along the shores of Lake Ontario.  Between 1634 and 1642 they were reduced to about 9,000 by a series of epidemics, measles, influenza and smallpox brought by the French. The French called the Wendat, the Huron.  dream catcher wendatAfter a war with the Iroquois a remnant of the Wendat people dispersed to different places in North America. One group ended up not far from where Quebec City is located today.  We visited a Wendat village set up for tourists when we were in Quebec. Dave and his cousin John had a long talk with one of the members of the tribe who was acting as a guide.  john and dave talk to huron guideThe present population of the Wendat,  near Québec City, is about 3,000. The majority are Catholic and use French as their first language.wendat long houseThe Wendat once lived in long houses which were up to 7 meters wide and 90 meters in length and housed extended families that traced a common descent to the same mother or grandmother.wendat villageHigh palisades around the villages offered protection.
wendat canoe
The Wendat traveled in birch bark canoes along the St. Lawrence River. wendat art workStory telling was important to the Wendat and they often used art to tell those stories. 

wendat fursThe Wendat were one of the most important suppliers of furs to the French exchanging their furs for goods from the French. dave and john talk to huron guideThe Wendat have lost their original language. At the site of their reconstructed village near Quebec City they are doing their best to preserve at least a part of their culture and heritage and share that knowledge with those who come to visit. 

Other posts………

Hopi at the Heard

Killing a Bison is Hard

Dave’s Vision Quest

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada, History, quebec city

A Broken Engagement, A Traitor Assistant and Capturing Holy Light

gutenberg in quebec city art galleryI bumped into Johannes Gutenberg at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec City and was reminded of some of the interesting stuff I’d learned about Gutenberg when I visited the Gutenberg Museum in Johannes’ home town of Mainz Germany. gutenberg-statue-mainz-germany

Gutenberg was born in Mainz in 1395 but when a revolt against the nobility happened there in 1425 Gutenberg’s family moved to Strasbourg France where legal documents indicate Gutenberg was involved in a broken engagement with a young lady from Strasbourg.gutenberg-bible

Before inventing the printing press and printing the Gutenberg Bible Johannes was involved in manufacturing metal mirrors designed to capture holy light emanating from religious relics. These mirrors were sold to pilgrims on journeys to holy sites.

mural-at-gutenberg-museumA businessman named Johann Fust loaned Gutenberg the funds to build his printing press. In 1455, Fust took Gutenberg to court, claiming Gutenberg had mishandled his loan. The court ruled in favor of Fust, leaving Gutenberg bankrupt. But guess who was one of the witnesses during the court case? Johannes’ former assistant Peter Schoeffer, who proceeded to take over Gutenberg’s former shop and help Fust run the printing press and turn it into a profitable business. 

gutenberg-in-mainzPoor Johannes. He never got credit for inventing the printing press in his lifetime and there were no known images made of him while he was alive. Maybe he’d be happy to know he is famous now and there are images of his likeness all over the world including in his hometown of Mainz Germany and in a museum in Quebec City Canada. 

Other posts….

A Face for Champlain


Chagall Windows


Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Germany, Media, quebec city, Writing

A Different Kind of Snow Angel

We had our first snow in Winnipeg last night and it made me think of this art piece Snow Angel I saw in the Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City. It is by Karine Giboulo and shows a child playing in a garbage dump in Mumbai where her family sorts different colors of plastic to sell and make a living. Artist Giboulo says, ” What could be more common to North American children than making a snow angel? But the image takes on a whole other meaning when juxtapositioned with the reality of children working among the refuse in Mumbai.”


Other posts…….

Beggars Everywhere

India Assaults the Senses

Co-Creation at the Art Gallery

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Childhood, India, quebec city

Inuit Interactives

inuit-minaturesHow fun!  The idea of art galleries where people of all ages are invited to engage in creation is something Nina Simons champions in her book Participatory Museums. I saw exciting evidence of this at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Look at the interactive invitations given to children in the Inuit art section. 


Build an Inukshuk out of pillows


Create string stories and play string games



Settle into a snow nest to read Inuit legends while listening to Inuit throat singers


Or make Inuit art prints at these art stations

According to Nina Simons a participatory art gallery or museum is one where visitors create, share, and connect with each other around content. That is certainly happening at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.

Other posts……

Inuit Games

An Inuit Art Primer

Falling in Love

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada, Childhood, Education, quebec city

Eight Tone Bells, A Choir Director From Winnipeg, Servanthood and Women

dave-in-churchWhen we were in Quebec City we attended Sunday service at The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. They have eight bells in their church tower to announce the start of worship and each bell plays a different note on the scale. Give a listen by clicking the picture below.cathedral-of-the-holy-trinity

The choir director at Holy Trinity is Sandra Bender and her first job was conducting a young adult choir at First Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. 

choir-cathedral-of-the-holy-trinityThe sermon by Dean Christian Schreiner was given the day before Canada went to the polls. We were encouraged to pick the candidate on the ballot who was most likely to be a ‘servant’ and truly the serve the people he or she were elected to represent. 

anglican-female-priestsI was drawn to this plaque in the foyer. It reminded me that my generation grew up without ever seeing a woman pastor in a church.  I’m so glad that isn’t the case anymore. 

Other posts…….

A Black and White Religion

A Tiny Church

A Church and A Bar on Every Corner


Leave a comment

Filed under quebec city, Religion

Gandhi Sighting #3

gandhi-quebec-cityOn our recent visit to Quebec City I discovered this statue of Gandhi. It  was created by artist Gautam Pal as a symbol of the friendship between the people of India and Quebec City. 

ghandi in winnipegWe also have a statue of Gandhi here in Winnipeg. It was a gift from the government of India to the friends of the Human Rights Museum.  The statue is on a walkway right next to the museum.  The statue plays an important role in the novel Empty Cup by my friend Suzanne Costigan. gandhi new york cityI took this photo of Gandhi on a walk through New York City. It was sculpted by Kantilal Patel and is located in Union Square because the square has often been a protest site and Gandhi was a champion of non-violent protest in his fight for Indian independence from Britain. 

Other posts…….

What’s Gandhi Doing in Winnipeg? 

A Walk in New York City

India Inspiration

A Book Set Right Here in Winnipeg

1 Comment

Filed under Art, History, quebec city

In Search of A Face

samchamprifleThere is no known likeness of the founder of New France Samuel D. Champlain.  He did do this sketch in a notebook of himself once, wearing armour and shooting a gun but it reveals nothing about what his face looked like. 


Samuel’s name on a gift shop named after him in Quebec City.

Champlain arrived in Quebec City in 1608 on a ship called The Gift of God and established a settlement with around 30 colonists. As you tour Quebec City you can find many artistic representations of Samuel Champlain.  Each sculptor or painter provides us with their idea of Samuel’s face.  Which one is the most realistic? 

champlain on mural in quebec cityI’m posing here with Samuel as he walks down the street on a large mural called Fresque des Québécois.champlain on legislature building quebecHere Samuel looks down from the very top of the Quebec provincial legislative building. pigeon on champlain's headThis visage of Champlain graces a statue on Dufferin Terrace along the waterfront in Quebec City. It was created by Paris artist Paul Chèvre, a Titanic survivor. 
champlain-by-theodore-usherAt the Musee de la Place Royale museum they show a film about an artist reading Champlain’s journals and trying to create a likeness of him. This painting is the result. It is by Theodore Usher.champlain-at-the-place-du-royaleI took a photo of this version of Samuel’s face in the Musee de la Place Royale. champlain statueThis bronze bust of Champlain by Albert Laliberte was created in 1908 and is on display in the Musees de la civilisation in Quebec City. samuel d. champlain

This sketch of Champlain is also in the Musees de la civilisation in Quebec City. 

There are different opinions about the value of the contributions Champlain made to Canada. Some see him as a great mapmaker and explorer and a principled leader who helped found our country.

Others say he was responsible for destroying the way of life established by Canada’s First Nations people. Either way, he looms large in the history of our country which is why artists have been trying for centuries to figure out what he looked like. 


Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Canada, History, People, quebec city

Inspiration at The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec


Mask by Alfred Pellan -photographed at the The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.
― André Berthiaume


Quebec Village – St. Hilarion- By Arthur Lismer – photographed at the The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. -Stanley Horowitz


36 Shades of Grey by Fernand Leduc- photographed at the The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

When I learned about the gray existing between the black and white of absolute terms, I began to experience more peace. The more I expanded my gray areas, the more peace I experienced in my life. ― David W. Earle


The Little Anglers by Napoleon Bourassa-photographed at the The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind. ~Washington Irving


The Good Samaritan by Charles Huot- photographed at the The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

Not everyone is your brother or sister in faith, but everyone is your neighbour, and you must love your neighbour.― Timothy Keller


Portrait of a Seated Young Woman by Prudence Heward-photographed at the The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

Thinking is the talking of the soul with itself. -Plato


Drunkeness by Alfred Pellan-photographed at the The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

Ignorance is a lot like alcohol: the more you have of it, the less you are able to see its effect on you. ― Jay M. Bylsma


Turned Towards the Cosmos by Jean Paul Lemieux-photographed at the The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

Ye stars! Which are the poetry of heaven. -Lord Byron

Other posts……..

Quebec City Inspiration

Lynch Family and Lead Belly

The Beginning and End of Life

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Inspiration, quebec city