I just got back from Quebec City where I attended my first Boreal convention. Boreal is a French language literary convention with a focus on science-fiction, fantasy and other speculative genres. It has hopped about to different cities in Quebec, but this year it was in Quebec City.
Weirdly enough, due to my heavy networking on English language forums and attendance of events like Illuxcon and the IMC, most of my art and publishing contacts are American, or at least, not Quebecers. We have a thriving local industry and I wanted to learn more so I signed up! I also volunteered to take part in the programming and I ended up participating in three panels.
There is a side of me who feels like a fraud whenever I’m put in a position like that, but I manage to rationalize it. It turns out I had a ball. I really enjoyed myself and I was lucky to have fantastic co-panelists. One of the subjects was touchy (the one about misogyny) but I felt that there was respect all around, both at the panel table and in the audience. I also got to see Christian Sauvé’s conference about being a critic and a variety of panels, I visited the exhibitors room and met great people. I also had two original paintings with me, one of them being a cover for Solaris winter 2014, so I was told be a lot of people that they had recognized it, which always feels good, the other one was Un Bon Cygne.
It’s a fairly small scene but a lot of my fellow con-goers and all the staff and volunteers went out of their way to make me feel welcome.
As usual, my tips for anyone thinking of going to a small to medium-sized convention are the same:
- Do it.
- Wear your name tag, make sure it’s visible.
- Bring a portfolio and business cards, take them everywhere with you.
- Don’t be afraid to approach people and introduce yourself.
- When it’s lunchtime and a lot of people are milling about, it’s ok to ask perfect strangers if you can join them. Eating with someone is a great way to get to know them.
- Be nice and non-creepy.
I have long admired art that defends a cause. Be it Rockwell’s Freedoms or political cartoons. But as much as I admired it and care for human rights and have strong opinions about a lot of subjects, I never was inspired to do art for a cause. I tried to do art that projected positive images (strong women in plausible armor etc.) but I never did images where the purpose of the image is to defend a position.
That changed recently because I became very interested and somewhat involved in the local protests against hikes in tuition fees and even more against Law 78. This law poses a serious threat to freedom of association and manifestation and has been critiqued by the local Bar Association, Amnesty International and the United Nations. That law was mainly created because students had been having protests every night at 8:30 PM downtown Montreal and sometimes there have been acts of violence (mainly by law enforcement I might add.)
In response to that law that says that any protest of more than 50 people must be approved by the Police departments, a movement was started to have people bang pots and pans every day at 8PM from their porches and windows. The first few days they banged them on their porches, then on the sidewalks and within the week, they were having pot banging parades in the streets of their neighborhoods. The 8:30 demonstrations never abated, even in the worst weather. So instead of having a daily protest, the government ended up with at least 2 nightly protests. One more hardcore downtown Montreal, and one all over Montreal, with kids and elderly people in their neighborhoods. Soon people started protesting in smaller towns and villages, they started banging their pots in front of politicians’ houses and the pot banging parades sometimes joined in with the nightly protests. Occupy Montreal took inspiration from the neighborhood protests and started they occupations in other places than downtown. The thing is, all of these protests are now theoretically illegal, and the police has arrested more than 2000 protesters so far, but they can’t arrest 2000 protesters every night.
Images, web sites and videos, open letters and articles are also supporting the protesters. That inspired me to do a little and do what I could to support the cause (other than banging pots in my neighborhood!)
Le patriote is an iconic image representing one of the historical Patriotes, French Canadians who fought British invaders and demanded democratic reforms in the 1830’s. It is so well known that everyone in Quebec would recognise the update, a student brandishing the red flag that is the symbol of the protests.
Pot is not legal in Quebec, but possession of small amounts is not criminal (you would get a ticket for it, but not get a criminal record or appear in court), it’s sad that banging pots in public, unless you are less than 50 or have had the route of your protest approved by the police CAN get you in court with fines of thousands of dollars. In any case, I’m not a pot smoker but I’m a pot banger and I think both should be legal.
I think this is just a start and I’m looking forward to do more and better images to defend values I find important.
Dans le poste précédent, j’avais raconté ma visite aux cimetières principaux à Granby, la ville où j’ai grandit. Le premier était très vieux et avait des monuments intéressants mais peu de statues. Le deuxième est super quelconque en, en gros, ressemble à une banlieue où tout est uniforme. Il y a des sections où les pierres sont toutes de la même forme, même épaisseur, même genre de motifs, espacées toutes également. La seule chose qui change est la couleur, gris, rose, noir, gris, noir, rose. Une chance qu’il y a quelques sections différentes où les voisins gonflables se sont livrés bataille, une pierre a un motif de cerf, la deuxième a un poisson, la troisième, un cerf ET un poisson, etc. Donc il y en a quelques-unes qui ont des statues! J’ai donc pu prendre des photos qui seront utiles pour mes prochaines peintures.
J’ai passé toute la journée sans penser à ajuster ma balance des blancs, mais je suis quand même contente du résultat, je ne pensais pas me retrouver avec une photo comme celle-ci:
Je suis sérieuse à propos du zoo. Les manèges sont à seulement une centaine de mètres derrière les cryptes. Pendant tout notre temps la bas, nous avons entendu les bruits de chaines des montagnes russes et les gens crier. Si vous êtes juste à côté des cryptes, vous pouvez voir certains manèges au dessus de la haie. Les animaux et Amazoo (le parc aquatique) sont un peu plus loin du cimetière.
C’est tout pour ma visite à Granby, mais je vais trouver d’autres cimetières à visiter!