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Acadian Art and Identity: Évangéline, Claude Roussel, and Paul Édouard Bourque


Acadian Art and Identity: Évangéline, Claude Roussel, and Paul Édouard Bourque

Marchand, Anik Hélène (2017) Acadian Art and Identity: Évangéline, Claude Roussel, and Paul Édouard Bourque. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis examines the birth of modern Acadian art in Southern New Brunswick in the late 1960s. It focuses on two artists, Claude Roussel and Paul Édouard Bourque, who attended and taught at l’Université de Moncton during the 1960s and whose painting had a profound impact on the articulation of Acadian identity in the province as that referring to a predominantly francophone, Catholic minority community in the east coast of Canada, whose descendants were the original French settlers in the region; and who, over the centuries, also include members with mixed Indigenous and European heritage. In 1755, Acadians were expelled—first from Grand Pré, Nova Scotia and then the rest of the Maritime Provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island)—by the British Loyalists who arrived in North America in 1604, in what came to be called the Great Deportation, or Le Grand Dérangement. Acadians would not return to the region until the mid to late 1760s. The 1960s was an important period for Acadians in New Brunswick, historically, politically and culturally. It was marked by the questioning of one’s identity, as well as student demonstrations for francophone rights, particularly in Moncton, with the establishment of l’Université de Moncton in 1963 (the first francophone university in New Brunswick and the largest francophone university outside of Québec). An additional catalyst for the province-wide movement for equal rights was the adoption of the New Brunswick Official Languages Act in 1969, under the leadership of Louis Robichaud, the second Acadian appointed Premier of New Brunswick from 1960 to 1970. Roussel, originally from Edmundston and Bourque, from Moncton represent the northeastern and southwestern regions, respectively, where the majority of the Acadian population historically settled and currently reside in New Brunswick. I argue that the work of Roussel and Bourque, surrounded by a circle of like-minded creatives, represent a major shift in the representation of Acadian identity in the visual arts, moving away from typical folkloric depictions of the Deportation towards explorations in the modernist art idiom emerging in the 1960s. Long-treasured Acadian figures and symbols, such as the fictional character of Évangéline, were particularly heralded and revived during the Acadian nationalist movement. Ultimately, the thesis outlines the significant contribution of Roussel and Bourque to not only the articulation and representation of a new, modern Acadian identity in art and culture but also the development of modern art in New Brunswick and Canada in general.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Marchand, Anik Hélène
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:1 September 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Ming Wai Jim, Alice
ID Code:983072
Deposited On:17 Nov 2017 18:30
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:56
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