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Currently shown
Manuel Mathieu

Self-portrait

Artist

Manuel Mathieu
Born in Port-au-Prince in 1986

Title

Self-portrait

Date

2017

Materials

Acrylic, oil stick, charcoal, spray paint, chalk and masking tape on canvas

Dimensions

177.8 x 203.2 cm

Credits

Purchase, Hélène Couture Fund, inv. 2018.195

Collection

Quebec and Canadian Art

Despite the title, Self-portrait is a depiction of the artist’s grandmother: seen from behind, kneeling, she is carefully tending a flower bed. The shimmering colours of her dress and the luxuriant plant life evoke the Haitian gardens of the painter’s youth. But the scene is set in Blainville, where his grandmother lived. This painting deals with the concept of filiation, the special connection between the artist and his grandmother, the first person from his maternal family to immigrate to Quebec. Mathieu presents this territory as part of her dual sense of cultural identity. He appropriates this duality and descent by titling his painting Self-portrait. Through various evocations of heritage and belonging, he anchors his work in the current concerns of Black communities in Canada.

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