The community hall of the Francophone Centre on Strickland Street will be home to a new, dynamic, colourful and provocative art exhibition by Yukon newcomer and artist Josée Fortin.

Through a series of oil paintings and poems, the artist invites anyone who dares to embark on an exciting and unsettling journey to her Unconcious Conscience.

Fortin has explored many creative avenues including theatre, literature, dance and visual arts. She was introduced to painting at an early age.

“My uncle bought me my first set of oil paints at the age of 10,” she says.

“Creating is a vital need for me; it has gotten me through very rough times as a child and young adult.”

The self-taught artist’s need to rebel and to provoke is visceral and present throughout her life and artwork. It is also a way for the young artist to express her need to be true and authentic, to denounce and reject all forms of dishonesty.

“There are too many facades, too much falsehood,” she says. “Through the creative process, I am able to scream out loud in a way that is not possible in everyday life.”

Fortin’s paintings and poems are her witnesses. Through them, and the creative process from which they are born, she has found a path toward freedom.

The Lac St-Jean, Québec, native has always had the dream of making her home here, in the Yukon: “I was fascinated by the novel White Fang as a child. It spoke to me at a deep level, and somehow I knew that the North would bring me the calm and inner peace I needed to create.”

Since her arrival in May, 2009, Fortin has been hard at work doing just that: creating over 17 paintings and as many poems to match.

From timid and shy to femme fatale and seductress, the women depicted in her paintings hold the leading roles in most of her artwork.

Inspired by the northern landscapes from her childhood and her recent travels, the place that nature occupies throughout her work is also quite significant.

Fortin describes her artistic genre as being a mix of surrealism, romance, fantasy and symbolism, with themes revolving mainly around love, spirituality, solitude and sexuality.

The Art Exhibition Opening will be held on Thursday, April 15, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Francophone Centre’s Community Hall, 302 Strickland Street, in Whitehorse.

Musician Ryan McNally will be performing live during this event.

Fortin’s works will be on display until the end of May. The gallery is open Fridays from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and upon request.

The cultural sector of the AFY (Association franco-yukonnaise) holds a new art exhibition every other month, displaying and promoting the work of emerging Francophone artists. The works are displayed for two months at a time. The exhibit opening, the hanging of the artwork and the promotion of the event are organized by the cultural sector. If you are a Francophone or a Francophile and would like to book an exhibition, please contact us at 668-2663 ext. 221.