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Farandole: Perspectives on Western Canadian Metis Culture

Date Sep 18, 2013 - Nov 17, 2013
Artist Colette Balcaen and Pascal Jaouen

Exhibition Overview

Farandole: Perspectives on Western Canadian Métis Culture combines contemporary visual art and haute couture to explore the reinvention of tradition through the work of artists Colette Balcaen of Manitoba and Pascal Jaouen of France. Exquisitely crafted beaded and fur-trimmed garments by French (Brittany) fashion designer and embroiderer Pascal Jaouen are displayed alongside a room-sized embroidered textile installation by Franco-Manitoban visual artist Colette Balcaen. Jaouen and Balcaen worked closely with each other and with distinguished Manitoba embroiderers Jennine Krauchi and Jenny Meyer, and weaver Carol James, whose work represents some of today’s most accomplished artisanal textile production.

Farandole is circulated by the Alliance Française du Manitoba and presented in partnership with the Alliance Française de Toronto.

Additional Information

In 2010, Canadian visual artist Colette Balcaen and French embroiderer and fashion designer Pascal Jaouen were brought together by the Alliance Française du Manitoba to participate in a cultural exchange. The focus of this program was to explore traditional Métis textile techniques alongside time-honoured Breton embroidery from France through an intercultural lens of understanding. The artists met in Winnipeg to exchange and conduct research with three local artisans with expertise in traditional Métis practices – Carol James, Jennine Krauchi and Jenny Meyer. Farandole, a meditation on the sometimes cyclical relationship of collaboration, appropriation and inspiration in contemporary artistic production, demonstrates the ongoing relevance of traditional culture, ensuring the preservation of once-vulnerable traditions.

The exhibition’s title refers to a traditional French dance involving a chain formed as dancers hold hands, moving along in the leader’s path, captured in the cyclical relationship of collaboration, appropriation, and inspiration at the heart of Farandole. Exploring the ongoing connections between Métis and francophone culture, the exhibition offers a unique look at the continuum of high end fashion and traditional costume, storytelling, beadwork, weaving and embroidery. An innovative examination of 21st-century identity, Farandole reinforces the Textile Museum of Canada's commitment to engaging experiences and creative practices that provide insight into our global context.

Colette Balcaen is a multi-disciplinary Franco-Manitoban artist who works with textiles, drawing, sculpture, mixed media, and performance. Balcaen uses sewing and embroidery to preserve her culture by creating physical representations of narratives, stitched thread by thread. After working as a primary school teacher, Balcaen retired in 2003 and opened L’école des jeunes artistes in Winnipeg. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba and has participated in several group and solo exhibitions at venues such as La Maison des Artistes in St. Boniface, Manitoba, the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, and La Galerie at the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain. Balcaen received a 2012 Winnipeg Arts Council Grant and in 2010 was honoured with the Prix Réseau of Saint-Boniface.

Pascal Jaouen is a master embroiderer, deeply engaged with the traditional embroidery techniques of his native Brittany, France. Jaouen has performed indispensible research on traditional technical knowledge and patterns of Breton embroidery that previously existed only as oral record, thereby ensuring the preservation of the once-vulnerable tradition. Further ensuring the livelihood of this art, Joauen opened the École de Broderie d’Art de Quimper in 1995, now attracting 1500 students annually. In 2002, Jaouen began applying his studied expertise in embroidery to fashion garments that combine inspiration from traditional Breton patterns with the fit and aesthetic of contemporary French fashion. His work has been exhibited in France, Japan, the United States and Canada, and in 2013 he was awarded the Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur.

Related Programs and Events

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Opening Reception: Farandole: Perspectives on Western Canadian Métis Culture
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Join us for the opening reception of Farandole: Perspectives on Western Canadian Métis Culture, September 18 – November 14, 2013. Artist Colette Balcaen will be in attendance.

Exhibition Tour: Farandole: Perspectives on Western Canadian Métis Culture
Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 6:30 pm
Join TMC Curatorial Director Sarah Quinton as she offers insights into traditional practices, narratives and techniques used in the intricate embroidery and costumes of fashion designer Pascal Jaouen and the work of artist Colette Balcaen. Free with admission.

Pascal Jaouen, <i>Métissé Man’s Outfit</i>, 2011 (foreground); Colette Balcaen, <i>Farandole</i>, 2011 (background)
Pascal Jaouen, <i>Princess Métisse Woman’s Outfit</i>, 2011
Pascal Jaouen, <i>Perce-neige Woman’s Outfit</i>, 2011
Pascal Jaouen, <i>Perce-neige Woman’s Outfit</i>, 2011 (detail)
Pascal Jaouen, <i>Métissé Man’s Outfit</i>, 2011 (detail); sash woven by  Carol James
Pascal Jaouen, <i>Perce-neige Woman’s Outfit</i>, 2011 (left); Colette Balcaen, <i>Farandole</i>, 2011 (right)
Pascal Jaouen, <i>Princess Métisse Woman’s Outfit</i>, 2011 (detail)
Installation View (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Installation View (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Installation View (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Installation View (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Installation View (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Installation View (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Installation View (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Installation View (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Installation View (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener