The City of Gatineau
The Manise-Morin public library in the City of Gatineau is a community-focused space, in an area with a long history. In 2022, The City of Gatineau decided they wanted to further enrich the Manise-Morin public library by augmenting it with an impactful art installation. The intention was to celebrate the rich heritage of the Outaouais area while giving opportunities to female artists from the region. To make these aspirations a reality, the City of Gatineau called upon MASSIVart’s expertise in public art, art curation, and community engagement.
Looking at the community’s history and drawing inspiration from the Outaouais area, the City of Gatineau and MASSIVart agreed it was important to celebrate women’s roles in the area’s mining past. Outaouais was the principal producer of mica in Canada in 1910 and women were at the forefront of this industry. Creating a piece that reflected this history whilst making it feel both contemporary and timeless, MASSIVart began looking for an artist who was familiar with the City of Gatineau.
Artist and former student of the University of Outaouais, Melanie Myers was chosen to take on the visual aspect of this project. Myers brings her engagement with the area to her community-oriented installation. Myers designed Extractions minières, an abstract piece using both neon and minerals, which was mounted on the wall of the library in 2022.
The symbolism folded into the piece sparks interest in the region’s history. The mineral sheets represent the materials that history’s women were tasked with manually separating. The neon fixtures symbolize that the minerals mined were ultimately used in electricity.
Adding another layer to this multidisciplinary piece, MASSIVart looked to Pierre-Luc Clement to create an electroacoustic soundtrack for Extractions minières. Welcoming passersby to be further drawn into the piece, the audio resembles the sounds one would hear in the mines. Clement’s soundtrack underscores the meticulous and onerous work that the women took on in the mines.
Providing the community of Gatineau with a new and engaging multidisciplinary art piece, MASSIVart is proud to be in producing a piece that centres heritage keeping and the celebration of women’s roles in history.