BY VIRGINIE HAMEL

March has been known all over the world as Women’s Month, the month for raising awareness and support for women’s issues.

Les EssentiElles, the organization representing francophone women of the Yukon, turns to the arts to celebrate Women’s Month with a fourth annual francophone women’s visual art exhibition.

According to Julie Ménard, coordinator of Les EssentiElles, “The first annual exhibition to celebrate Women’s Month was held in 2005.

“Les Essentielles had hired Bonnie Jean-Louis, a young Franco-Ontarian photographer, to produce an exhibition in honour of the women who volunteer in their community.

“It happened that the women were invited to share their ideas through their art. Since then, Les EssentiElles has worked with the cultural sector of the Association Franco-Yukonnaise every year to put on an exhibition of works by francophone women of the Yukon.”

All women, whether beginning artists or professionals, get an opportunity to express their view of what it means to be a woman using a variety of art forms from pen and ink to clay to beads or any other medium.

This year, the exhibition presents, among other artists, works by the painter Nicole Bauberger:

“Two of my pieces came to mind when I saw the title of the exhibition,” she says.

“I wasn’t doing much portrait, but when I was in the galleries in Europe, I thought about how a portrait can express a person’s image of herself and how I could work around that idea.

“I originally wanted to make a series, but so far I’ve only done two. I asked two women to strike a pose that would express their personality. The backgrounds are fictional, inspired by Yukon landscapes.”

The exhibition has, in fact, served as a springboard for previously unknown artists.

This year’s theme, Femmes du monde – Women of the World, will likely encourage diversity. What local or international events impact our lives, the lives of our mothers, our sisters, our daughters?

Women’s lives can be very different from one country to the next. Some places have seen incredible progress in the second half of the 20th century. Femmes du monde – Women of the World promises to be a highly diverse exhibition, with sources of inspiration as varied as the different regions of the planet.

Visitors will be treated to the works of over half a dozen artists at the Community Hall of the Francophone Centre.

Virginie Hamel is a regular contributor to What’s Up Yukon who keeps tab on events in Yukon’s francophone community.