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Question 20: In reflecting on your overall production, what are your thoughts on your work as an artist?
Well I think I was one of the early, well not the earliest, but to a point yes, because my career started in the 70s. It’s a little strange for me to use that word, career, because I never saw myself as having a career. I’ve always seen myself as doing a certain number of things and by default, it has ended up being a career. So passing judgement on my work overall… I think I am someone who has tried to force recognition of the artist as someone you can be, that you could live here, that it is important to be an artist, that finally artists have something very important to say. I’ve never considered art as … some people see artists as people who are off-the-wall, or who are dreamers. I’ve never accepted that. To my mind, art is a real language, as much as politics or economics. It’s not a language that dwells above others. I’ve never placed art above being. The fact that I’m an artist has never meant that I was better than plumbers, or electricians or lawyers or doctors. It’s something different. I believe it has a social function, it’s an important position. At the beginning we were a little lost because there were very few people we could talk with, there were few people around. I couldn’t see myself living anywhere else. Once again, I always felt that what I was doing in art made sense here. If I had gone to live outside, I’m not sure that I would have become an artist, I think I might have become, I don’t know, an architect, an electrician or something else. Living here has brought me to wallow in all kinds of contradictions and also it allowed me to develop my thinking. Because when you live in an environment such as the Acadian community, you’re always required to define yourself. People ask, why is this Acadian art? You wouldn’t ask an American artist to tell you why it’s American art, because for him, America exists and since he lives in America, it’s American art. But in the days when I, or when we came up, because I was not alone in this, it was a problem. You are Acadians and you make art… There was also problems with strategy, because we spent a lot of time trying to define what we were doing as Acadian art, when we should just have said, we’re Acadian artists. I think that now that’s what artists say. I think it’s a step up in maturity if you don’t feel the need to define yourself by what you do rather than who you are. I think it’s simpler and that it’s healthier as well.