Monday, July 22, 2024
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Sieur de Coulonge hosts first student arts night

by Sophie Kuijper Dickson
Fort Coulonge
Apr. 22, 2024
The library at École secondaire Sieur de Coulonge (ESSC) was transformed into an art gallery and a stage on Monday evening for the high school’s first multi-disciplinary arts vernissage.
The evening was organized as an opportunity for students from the school’s visual arts, dance, and language and music classes to share pieces they had been working on with their family and friends, and the wider Pontiac community.
“It’s to showcase what Sieur de Coulonge has to offer in arts, and its quality. And the quality comes from the students,” said Sébastien Beaudoin, the school’s visual arts teacher and the visionary behind the event.
Over 200 pieces created by visual art students over the course of the school year were displayed on easels and mounted on the walls.
Chairs and tables were pushed aside to clear space for a stage to host a performance from the school’s dancers, and two writers were selected to share poems and prose they had written.
Secondary 4 student Ayden Langlois, of Otter Lake, had several paintings in different media exhibited at the event.
“I’m just trying to learn the techniques, like when I see a good art style I want to try and do it,” Langlois said, noting water colour and spray paint, applied in a graffiti style, as his preferred techniques.
He said he had several teachers approach him interested in buying some of his work.
“I’m excited about it but at the same time I’ve got to get to work to make more.”
Caleb Palakiyéme Woke shared four original poems with the audience at the vernissage.
The 17-year-old moved to Fort Coulonge with his family from Togo, in West Africa about two years ago “to discover new horizons,” he ex,plained.
“I write poems about love, death, hope, and loss of hope,” Palakiyéme Woke told THE EQUITY, in French. “Some of the things I feel myself, and other times I try to put myself in somebody else’s shoes.”
The young artist said he was inspired by writers like Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables, and Jean de La Fontaine, a prolific French poet from the 17th century.
His confidence in his craft, evident in the off-hand way he listed some of life’s greatest themes as the material of his mastery, was only temporarily shaken by stage fright.
“There was a little bit of pressure,” he laughed, admitting he felt nervous to be sharing his poetry publicly for the first time.
While many of the dancers that performed at the event had previous experience on a stage, most had never performed the lyrical dance style, a mix of ballet and jazz, they prepared for Monday.
“We’re all just hip hop dancers actually,” said secondary 3 dance student Jade Danis Labelle. “But I find that lyrical is a way of telling a story, and our teacher wanted us to explore the dance world and do something different.”
The dancers began learning the new choreography two weeks prior to the vernissage.
“We’re exploring a new dance that we’ve never seen before. It’s all new and it feels very amazing,” said secondary 1 dancer Haley Pophal.
Natacha Corriveau, dance teacher at the school, said she hopes having her students participate in a mixed arts show helps them expand their understanding of their own art.
“We’re trying to help them understand that they are all artists. Sometimes the dancers think that they’re more performers and not artists,” Corriveau said.
The greater goal, for Corriveau, and for all involved, was to help the students recognize their membership as artists in a local art community.
“My main goal is to make sure the students have the freedom to express themselves,” Beaudoin said. “So you’ll see that a lot tonight. I’m very proud of them.”

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