Strong masks: they give us a voice

Strong masks: they give us a voice

The painter-collagist Adèle Blais with Coco Chanel, one of the five women in the limited series of Fortes masks.

Share November 2, 2020 3:00 am Updated at 8:08 am Share Masques Fortes : they give us a voiceStrong masks: they give us a voice

Andréanne Beaudry La Tribune “Never forget that it will only take a political, economic or religious crisis for women's rights to be called into question”, affirmed Simone de Beauvoir. For the painter-collagist, Adèle Blais, this quote oddly reflects the reality of women today at the heart of a global health crisis.

The self-taught artist from Sherbrooke paints women. On canvas, or grouped together in the book Sublimes published in collaboration with her friend Nathalie Plaat who signed the texts there. Naturally, it is a voice that attracts him in his artistic journey. “It's a position that is not against men, and for me, it's important that people know it,” says Adèle Blais.

She denounces, among other things, the imbalances in the story that everyone knows, the one told by our teachers in high school in particular.

“The story of conquerors, white men generally in high places, and victorious. “

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According to Adèle Blais, men like Donald Trump could not exist if women were reintegrated into our collective history.

“I believe there would be some respect for the contribution of women. Because I think that the evolution of the species, basically, is the work of a man and a woman ”, explains the painter-collagist.

The latest figures, which can be found on the Statistics Canada site, have shown that in times of crisis it is women who pay the most.

Almost 300,000 women between the ages of 25 and 54 lost their jobs in March, compared to 127,000 among men, for example.

With the health crisis that we have been living for nearly nine months, Adèle Blais has indeed thought about making masks like many people.

“I had thought about it, but I found it very attractive with the issue of wearing a mask. Now we get used to it. At first, I found it frustrating to display, on the one hand, our fear and almost our fear of the other. In life, I like to make facial expressions so I saw the wearing of the mask as an amputation to my face. “

While chatting with friends over dinner, she remembered Simone de Beauvoir.

“We were all talking about our reality as businesswomen, but also mothers, and women in a health crisis. Then, at that moment, the quote from Simone de Beauvoir came back to me, and I said to myself, that's it! I absolutely must give a voice to these women, ”says Adèle Blais.

“The engine of the project is not us, but all these women together. “- Adèle Blais

With the help of a few people, including her friend Mélanie Grégoire, the self-taught artist embarked on the creation of symbolic masks made in Quebec.

“The sound of our voice may be muffled by a mask. But this time, it's a mask that gives us a voice, ”says Adèle Blais.

It is therefore Simone de Beauvoir, Marylin Monroe, Coco Chanel, Virginia Wolf and Maria Callas that we find on the first masks of a limited series. “The engine of the project is not us, but all these women together. “

Adèle Blais confides that this project is “magic” since it is bigger than us. It is even essential. As an artist, she says that in some projects the “I” emerges, whether for herself or for other people.

“This time around, I know it's not the warrant. I talk about it because it takes a person to do it, but I mainly want to talk about them and all these people. “

Strong masks: they give us a voice

Adèle Blais La Tribune, Frédéric Côté

A single post on social media was enough to confirm this. Last Thursday, nearly 600 people ordered one of its five masks in presale. “I've never seen that in my life,” Mélanie Grégoire would have said to her business partner.

Fortes masks are for sale on the artist's website and available at Uniprix Chemika Madode and PJC Jean Coutu pharmacies on King Street West, and at Serres St-Élie. Also, from Thursday, they will also be on the shelves at Le petit Jules Café, Belle et Rebelle and Ville & Campagne.

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