From May 29 to June 17, 2017, the Subsistences project took the form of a bivouac-exhibition that toured the villages of the Minganie region between Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan and Nutashkuan. The purpose of the installation was to establish a place where people could meet and converse by offering situations of participation and cooperation.
The main elements of the bivouac-exhibition were assembled by Raphaëlle de Groot during encounters and by gathering items in the area: the traditional Innu tent and stove were made by members of the community of Ekuanitshit; the old clinker-built boat was borrowed from a resident of Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan; the pick-up and trailer belong to people in Baie-Johan-Beetz; and the words spoken by people from the region circulated through the bivouac in audio and print forms. De Groot also carted around a collection of trash gathered from the shores of the Mingan Archipelago: outdated fishing items recovered from Pêcheries Shipek, vestiges of daily subsistence (orange peels, salmon skins, flour bags), and natural debris from the coast (driftwood, stones, whale vertebrae). Functional elements, such as blankets and carrying bags, and other symbolic objects were made by the region’s artisans.
Visitors were invited to contribute to this collective baggage by bringing an object, photograph, or anecdote that embodied their relationship with the territory (the coast, the interior, the archipelago, the sea). These contributions, whether they were shared, lent, or given, were documented during the stopovers. Participants in each locality also took part in an artistic canning activity. In a can prepared for someone in another village were sealed a composition of fragments from the installation. The stopovers often brought people together for a dinner or snack with a local flavour (goose, bannock, crab, eider duck, scones, bake-apple tarts).
In parallel with these public events, De Groot conducted performative actions that embodied her encounter with the geographic, cultural, and material archipelagos of the Subsistences project.
De Groot’s work has been documented with photographs, and three short videos have been produced in collaboration with Maxime Girard, filmmaker at La Boîte Rouge vif. A medium-length video about the bivouac-exhibition stopovers is currently in production.
To find out more about the stopovers, visit the project’s Facebook page: @subsistances2017
May 29–30 Île Nue de Mingan
May 31–June 1 Ekuanitshit – Maison de la culture innue
June 2–3 Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan – Carrefour mer et culture
June 4–5 Baie-Johan-Beetz – Pointe à la perche
June 7 Nutashkuan – Community hall
June 9 Natashquan – Café Bistro L’Échouerie
June 10 Havre-Saint-Pierre – Portail Pélagie-Cormier
June 11 Aguanish – Oasis du Bel-Âge
June 17 Île Quarry – Parks Canada open house day
Acknowledgement and Credits
Thank you to Adèle “Maniaten” Bellefleur, Michèle Boucher, Mathieu Bourdon, Réjean Cormier, Guy Côté, Robert Déraps, Jacques Devost, Louise Dupont, Chantal Harvey, Frédérick Gagnon, Marie-Ève Gagnon, Magella Landry, Angèle Lapierre Harvey, Sébastien L’Ecuyer, Julie Loiselle, Rose-Alma Malec, Rita Mestokosho, Lydia Mestokosho-Paradis, Nancy Petitpas, Jean Poirier, Géraldine Poulin St-Laurent, Devon-Lee Rich, and Mirko Sabatini, all of whom played a significant role in the formulation and organization of the stopovers.
Thank you to La Copacte, La Boîte Rouge vif, the Conseil des Innus d’Ekuanitshit, the Conseil des Innus de Nutashkuan, the municipalities of Aguanish, Baie-Johan-Beetz, Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan, and Havre-Saint-Pierre, the Comité des loisirs de Baie-Johan-Beetz, the Comité culturel de Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan, La Maison de la culture innue, Café Bistro L’Échouerie, Oasis du Bel-Âge, and Parks Canada.