Guéganne Doucet, Indigenous Visual Artist, Painter & Sculptor from Shediac, New Brunswick (Canada)
Gueganne Doucet is an 83-year old Indigenous painter and sculptor born in Escuminac, New Brunswick, Canada. She has won numerous awards and like to experiment with different artistic styles.
While growing up, she had an avid interest in art that manifested itself in sketching, photography, painting, later, sculpturing with stone.
She enrolled at Université of Moncton at age 54 in the Arts to pursue sculpturing as a part of her profession. While she studied graphic design, she was able to take several fine art electives. Along with her other course work, she managed to take private classes in soft pastel with artist Brenda Hughes. Though she graduated with her degree in painting in 1997 and later in sculpturing, she found her passion in painting, and knew that painting would be her primary life focus.
Guéganne’s initial subjects in painting were flowers, shells and other close-ups of nature. These subjects gave her the opportunity to study form and composition while discovering her own unique process in painting. Her passion expanded to capturing light once she began painting the skies of New Brunswick. Light and all of its amazing nuances is Guéganne’s primary passion in painting. Painting the light in the sky and the light that surrounds chosen close-ups mirrors her search for the light within herself.
This Canadian-born International artist has a double heritage of the first two nations in Canada, Mi`kmaq and Acadian.
"Over the course of my career, my work has evolved from realistic to figurative realist forms and geometric abstraction. I divide my work into three aspects: representation, interpretation and dimension. In all phases of my work, but particularly with the expressionism, I explore themes inspired by the rich art of the Mi`kmaq. I develop my realist abstract images in the depths of four-dimensioned space, evoking the continuous, cyclical sensory worlds of our experiences - past, present, and future. My works shift and change continually and the ephemeral patterns subdivide and form again on other planes, revealing new realms of our subconscious. My paintings play colour, time and space in musical harmony."
Gueganne continues, "Using colours and planes, I create chromatic substances and surreal forms to activate and reactivate matter in order to pursue energy and fire through my use of successive, changing contrasts. I view art as vital to human nature's struggle to understand all dimensions of the universe, and hopefully my works open the mysterious recesses of our memories and intuitions to our conscious perceptions."
Awards & Honors Received by Guéganne Doucet from 1999 to 2007
2006 - The highest award of the Salon International de l `European Academy of Arts-France, in recognition of her exceptional talent and to mark the culmination of her work, Paris, France.
2006 - Grant to assist the Salon International de l`Académie Européenne des Arts-France.
2004 - Silver Medal received Mérite et Devouement Français - Paris, France, Superior Commission that bestow distinction to individual, for exceptional activities, that contribute to the enhancement of Humanity.
2003 - Silver Medal received for sculpture,"Qui Donne la Vie`` from the Cercle des Artists Peintres et Sculpteurs du Québec, Montreal, 2003.
2002 - Grande Médaille d`Or Rayonnement Universel, Salon d`Automne International des Beaux-Arts de Montréal.
2002 - Cachet C.B.C Télévision, Montréal, Quebec.
2001 - Silver Medal Excellence - 2001 Arts Science Lettre, l`Académie française, Paris, France.
2001 - Médaille officielle de la Région Poitue Charente, en reconnaissance de mon excellence dans les arts Poitue Charente official Medal, in recognition of my excellence in the arts.
2001 - Conseil Général de la Vienne official Medal,in recognition of my excellence in the arts.
2001 - Honorary Artist of the 21st Salon of the Portail des Art, Dortoir des Moines, Abbaye de Bramtone, France.
2001 - Médaille d`Or, Biennale Internationale Dell`Arte Contemporanea, Italie.
Gold Medal received at International Biennial in Italy.
1999 - Recipient of a certificate of merit in the Arts from the Province of New Brunswick.
On April 2nd, 2006 at the Classical Concert of the European Academy of Arts-France, Guéganne was awarded, the highest distinction of the Salon, the official medal of the European Academy of Arts-France, this in recognition of her exceptional talent and for the unique quality of her work.
She tells us that only two medals have been awarded this year and she is very happy to be one of the lucky ones. Moreover, as it should be, at the opening of the awards, gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to deserving artists.
The exhibition of the European Academy of Arts-France in Paris brought together several renowned artists from different countries, amalgamating more than one hundred works of contemporary art.
The sale was not the first goal of this exhibition, but rather the promotion of Arts and Artists in France. During the opening, the artists were extensively solicited by various galleries and other professionals of the Art, not to mention the opportunities to participate in other exhibitions.
Guéganne received an invitation to create, as an artist for a period of three months, in Lyon on the Côte d'Azur and was also solicited by a Parisian agent. She tells us, she consider all invitations and offers received.
During this show, she was often asked, why she considered her paintings as a Living Prayer. Her answer was that in her paintings, the symbolic objects and the arrangement of the perspectives, created such a strong artistic statement, bringing her work beyond the decorative art. Her paintings and sculptures are inspired by historical events, emotional and spiritual traditions and life obstacles that lead her to paint on the canvas and stone prayers and native songs with geometric, realistic and unique forms. The tones and inflections in the soul of these songs become the guidelines of her artistic work. Based on personal limitations that she has established in her creative process, it generates a spontaneity that is representative of prayers and the wandering rhythm of life.
She also mentions that visitors often have a stereotyped perception of what 'Aboriginal Art' should look like. Its purpose, combining this contemporary work, is to lead the viewer to broaden their interpretation of Aboriginal Art and to encourage patrons to recognize significant distinctions between Aboriginal cultures. I believe my paintings are far-reaching because they explore my personal voices in the context of today's cultural art." She believes that her work is technically very strong, well-executed and artistically engaged. Her work provides a glimpse into the evolution of Aboriginal culture, raising awareness of the richness of distinctive cultures in New Brunswick and elsewhere. She believes that by exposing her work, she will show the rhetoric of the image and the application she uses to convey her personal experience.
Keys, specifically symbolic and cultural, are subtly painted in the background, providing contextual clues to the process of interpretation. She mentions that each and every one of her works tells a story through the chosen colors, the geometric lines and the subject to develop. Aboriginal people in the Maritime Provinces played a fundamental role in the survival of the first French colonies.
Guéganne is positive that her work will open mysterious recesses of our memory, intuitively and consciously, in light of the enormous past contribution and far-off sacrifices of the Mi'kmaq People, Guéganne wishes to take this opportunity to thank the members of the New Brunswick Arts Council Brunswick for the trust they have shown in granting a grant so that she could make this trip to the Salon of the European Academy of Arts-France in Paris. The Arts on Invitation program of ARTSNB aims to encourage excellence in the arts. Any recipient of this competition highly regarded must have recognition of her creative work and stand out for her exceptional value in her work.
Meaning of Colors in My Paintings
- Blue - represents patience and understanding
- Red – represents happiness and faith
- Yellow and orange – represents intellect
- Green – represents healing, harmony, and nature
- Purple – represents mystery and magic
- Black – represents victory and success
- White – represents light and purity
My artistic process begins with close observation of a chosen subject. Design principles such as composition, harmony, value, color balance, rhythm, and unity are my initial tools to organize the painting. Once my concept is clear, I push myself to go deeper and to be as conscious and aware of every part of the subject as I am able. Usually, I find one or two focal points. Ultimately, all the parts of the painting take their place to support and express the whole. Some play subtle roles, some are surprisingly bold.
I use both color and light to express and enhance the essential nature of the subject. Light becomes an expression of life not only radiating from outside, but from within. Color emerges from the subject and becomes a mystery when combined with light. My subjects vary from close-ups of nature to the vast expanse of the skies above.
As an artist, I deliberately put myself into a state of deeper consciousness, almost as a meditation. In this state, I am more able to be in touch with my creative self, where painting is joyful and nearly effortless. Even though I am most passionate about the nuances of light, it is self-expression that ignites the creative process. It is my hope that the viewer, when experiencing my painting, can catch a glimpse of his or her own individual depth and uniqueness.
My recent work will represent commentary on the various aspects of an identity shaped by my personal history, the larger Canadian history, and current issues that impact the human sociology. As one voice within the context of the human experience, I can only speak from a perspective that mirrors an aesthetic modeled by the constant generational and cultural shift away from the original people of this continent. In my work, I embrace modernity and reclaim those images that are familiar to the way that I perceive my existence in this world.
As a contemporary artist, my identity has been a constant point of reference. Often, I've looked into the past through the eyes of the camera at images of my personal family or images that are provided in the context of Western history.
In this examination and comparison of the Indigenous of the distant past to the present, gives me a reflection of our environment that has changed through the processes of modernity, which has changed my perception.
When nature was our only environment, we told stories of our values within the nature of animals. We looked to the sky and made kinship to the stars, the moon and the sun. The earth lived under our bare feet and rivers flowed through our bodies and minds and filled our thoughts with a world that lived deep inside the earth. Our beginnings were contemplated in great councils and creation was the mystery to be solved.
Today our nature has changed. Our nature has been covered with concrete steel and asphalt. We have been relocated, dislocated, grouped and regrouped, numbered, and scattered. We are brought back together in short intervals for Pow Wow, ceremony. At present, we are known to each other as colleagues, officers, fellow students, or peers. The one commonality we have left is an extended family called "Mi’kmaq."
When I was a young child, my grandmother held me in her arms and looked into my new eyes, and I into her aged sight. The gaze we exchanged became the meeting place of the far distant past and the unknown future. My mother touch and prayers held the hope that her children may cope with rejection from their peers and a future that she couldn't warn against. And, in those human acknowledgments, she related to the future - to believe in who we are and never let go of the qualities that make us indigenous on Turtle Island. In my wake, I continually think about the people I came from. The language they spoke became clouded by time and hiding in others cultures for survival in a world that believes there was no place for Indigenous people, for my people and for my family and me.
Still the language and songs from the beginning of creation resonate in my daydreams, and solace is found in that sacred place called Art.
Visual Artist-Painter & Sculptor