artistic process

public works artistic process

The approach Patrick Dionne and Miki Gingras take to their art is a reflection of the human condition from the perspective of the dealings and conflicts happening around them.

Through their photography, they assimilate into communities and uncover people’s stories, gathered by listening to testimonials, anecdotes and unofficial accounts of everyday life.

These short narratives become photomurals, photomontages and photo animations, which the two artists meticulously put together using digital devices that allow them to explore the various meanings of their images. Since 1999, Patrick and Miki have travelled inland like migratory birds, crossing the continent in their legendary van and spending seasons in various southern countries, including Nicaragua, Guatemala, Colombia and Mexico. There, they have discovered diverse cultural realities and identities, which have become part of their nomadic, cross-border artistic work. They use specific audiovisual strategies to involve people in the creative process, focusing on personal experiences, collective memories, political grievances, environmental struggles, customs and traditions to create an ethnography of everyday existence and neighbourhood life. Their blend of photography and neo-muralism fosters dialogue between northern and southern cultural traditions thanks to an intuitive approach in which a sense of community is paramount.

Nuria Carton De Grammont
Curator and art historian

Public works

Through participatory photomurals, Patrick and Miki have built up a cohesive collection of public works that focus on citizen engagement in diverse community activities that enhance neighbourhood life.

Tracadigash (2016–2017), created in Carlton-sur-Mer on the Gaspé Peninsula, is an example of the city seen as a collective expression of its territory and the focal point for the reconstruction of local history. Collaborating with locals, who shared their stories, as well as personal and public archival photos, Patrick and Miki put together a collage that evokes this coastal town’s customs and traditions. In Cueilleurs d’histoires[Story Gatherers] (2014), they assembled participants’ stories to produce a sound and visual installation. People could listen to it while relaxing on a bench and looking through a telescope at figures on far-away Bonaventure Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

L’Envol [Flight](2015) is an architectural integration project that was done for the Marc-André-Fortier School in Châteauguay. Together, the artists and students created a photomural featuring pinwheels, which symbolize collective learning: “To be able to fly, children have to discover what gives them wings.” Ravissement[Delight] (2015) is a photographic animation project conducted with the involvement of residents of Quebec City’s Saint-Jean-Baptiste neighbourhood. The animations were projected in eight display windows on Saint-Jean-Street during Manif d’Art in 2017.

Ownership and empowerment through the use of public space are explored in Morcha (2017–2018), a project created for the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in Mumbai, India. Passersby were invited to take photos or selfies, which were then displayed to form a virtual environmental protest movement (मोर्चा’/Morcha). Patrick and Miki’s public works recapture the interplay of the diverse energies that constitute urban living, as shown in Synergie [Synergy](2017), created in the heart of the Plateau Mont-Royal neighbourhood for Montreal’s 375th anniversary.

Nuria Carton De Grammont
Curator and art historian