Aldermac – Plantation minière

Véronique Doucet

April 10th to May 9th 2009

Aldermac – Mining Plantation
For artist Véronique Doucet, presenting the project Aldermac – Plantation minière in Sudbury marks the completion of a work of artistic and environmental research. This research undertaken in 2002 studies the devastation brought about by the stockpiling of 1.5 million tons of acidic mining residues in a 76-hectare area. With the help of the Conseil régional en environnement de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue (CREAT), the artist fought a determined battle to bring about the environmental rehabilitation of the Aldermac slag dump at Arntfield, 24 kilometers from Rouyn-Noranda.

In this multidisciplinary project, Doucet uses many different means to inform the public and convince certain governmental agencies of the importance to act in this matter.

The Militia
The artist organized an environmental militia, whose mission was an artistic and symbolic reforestation of part of the Aldermac slag dump. An experimental video shows fifteen people, wearing masks and covered from head to foot, moving about in an arid, barren, polluted landscape, as they futilely plant nearly 2000 tree seedlings destined to die.

Eloquent photos
The artist travels by plane, by boat, by ATV or on foot in order to document Aldermac’s contaminated terrain from all possible angles. In close-ups or wide shots, each photo displays magnificent colours and textures in ironically aesthetic compositions. Through this series of 17 digital photos, Doucet draws in her viewers and gently confronts them with the harsh reality of this contaminated environment.

An environmental victory due to an artistic intervention
With some of the photos from the Aldermac series, the artist produced postcards preaddressed to certain governmental agencies that have the power to bring about changes. Nearly 3000 people joined the movement and took part in the letter-writing campaign. After many interventions by the artist and CREAT, the latter received in the fall of 2007 a letter announcing that the site would be rehabilitated. The estimated cost is 16.5 million $. Work began in September 2008 and is currently underway.

The Sudbury exhibition contains a pictorial installation presenting a map of the site and of the artist’s movements, an experimental video documenting the work done by the environmental militia as well as a series of photos and samples of pH levels in water which document the artist’s discoveries in her expeditions on the site.

Véronique Doucet is an environmental artist who, through her art and her political activism, has succeeded in effecting change in her environment. She holds a B.A. in Art with a major in plastic arts and minors in arts and sciences from Université de Montréal. Her works have been exhibited all across Quebec; this is her first exhibition in Ontario.

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