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Marie-Hélène Comeau


Holding a doctorate in Arts Studies and Practices from the Université du Québec à Montréal on the construction of Franco-Yukon identity through art, Marie-Hélène Comeau is an artist, teacher and researcher. Originally from Montreal, this Franco-Yukon artist has been exploring her identity through art since her arrival in the North in 1992. Marie-Hélène Comeau’s work often calls upon the intimate francophone narrative in a minority setting. Her artistic practice allows her to bring to light the complex and sensitive history of each person’s identity between the past and the present. Since 2013, she has divided her time between her artistic practice and teaching art in Yukon schools, as well as facilitating creative workshops by the Yukon section of the Caravane des dix mots, offered with support from l’Association franco-yukonnaise, Yukon’s francophone community’s spokesperson organization.

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Summary of the project

Riopelle, the artist on the wing of a northern migration

Forty creative art kits based on the theme of migration and inspired by Jean Paul Riopelle’s work Tribute to Rosa Luxemburg have been sent to 40 Francophones and Francophiles living in Yukon. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Association franco-yukonnaise and the Aurore boréale newspaper, they have been invited to use the materials in the kits to illustrate their story of migration to Yukon from the place they came from. The individual projects will be gathered together and exhibited at the Riverside Art Festival in Dawson City in early June, then in Whitehorse on June 24 during the Saint-Jean-Baptiste holiday. In May and June, art workshops based on the migration theme will also be held for various Franco-Yukon community organizations, including the Garderie du petit cheval blanc and Les Essentielles and at the day camp. Lastly, book creation workshops (water colours, collages and creative writing) that explore Franco-Yukon migration stories will also be held on the exhibition dates.

Participants can use the art kits, which are designed for people living throughout Yukon, to create their artwork at home by compiling dialogues about their migration story with their family members and friends. The workshops will make it possible to share these stories with a wider audience and the general public.

To date, the project has been a great success with the Franco-Yukon community. The kits were all taken in less than a week. People like to share their stories as well as talk about their relationship with Riopelle’s works. Reference books about the artist are always on hand at the workshops and consulted on a regular basis.

Yukon organizations are looking forward to hosting the next workshops and a second Yukon exhibition date for the 40 artworks will be scheduled during the project.

In just a few weeks, the project has already prompted Yukon residents, the majority of whom were born outside the territory, to reflect on, share and listen to their migration stories. The project encourages dialogue through the creative art process.

Important dates in 2023 📅

  • May 9 → Parents & kids sessions, Whitehorse (at Les essentielles, a nonprofit organization) – Open to all
  • May 17, 18 and 19 →  Sessions for the children and staff of le Petit Cheval Blanc, a francophone daycare
  • June 2 to June 4 → Yukon Riverside Art festival in Dawson city – First vernissage of the 40 works of Franco-Yukon migration stories. An art workshop on the subject of Yukon migration will also be offered on site during the event – Open to all
  • June 19 and 20, 22 and 23 → Francophone daycamp sessions
  • June 24 → Opening : artworks exhibition (Association franco-yukonnaise’ 40th anniversary) – Open to all

Related documentation

Final gallery : Riopelle, the artist on the wing of a northern migration
Marie-Hélène Comeau
Exhibition and vernissage: S.S. Klondike National Historic Site, June 24.
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Riopelle, the artist on the wing of a northen migration – Gallery
Marie-Hélène Comeau
Photos of the project
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Realized within the framework of the centenary

The creation of the Foundation was inspired by the dream of Jean Paul Riopelle, who wished to pass on his passion for art, his vision and inspire the next generation of artists to explore, innovate and surpass their creative potential.