Conversation Around the River: Mary Anne Barkhouse, Geneviève Dupéré & Susan Turcot

As part of the exhibition Sans toit ni loi: the Cetaceans of the Saint Lawrence River, Cynthia Girard-Renard has invited three artists to engage in a dialogue around their projects on whales and marine ecosystems.

The event is hosted by Cynthia Girard-Renard and Ji-Yoon Han. It is held in English and French, with a live translation towards the other language. 


Mary Anne Barkhouse was born in Vancouver, BC but has strong ties to both coasts as her mother is from the Nimpkish band, Kwakiutl First Nation of Alert Bay, BC and her father is of German and British descent from Nova Scotia. She is a descendant of a long line of internationally recognized Northwest Coast artists that includes Ellen Neel, Mungo Martin and Charlie James. She graduated with Honours from the Ontario College of Art in Toronto and has exhibited widely in Canada and the United States while her work is part of major collections across Canada. As a result of personal and family experience with land and water stewardship, Barkhouse’s work examines ecological concerns and intersections of culture through the use of animal imagery. Inspired by issues surrounding empire and survival, Barkhouse creates installations that evoke consideration of the self as a response to history and environment. Barkhouse currently resides in the Haliburton Highlands of Ontario.

Geneviève Dupéré’s multidisciplinary and multicultural practice has taken shape in the past twenty years throughout works of various scales. These have brought her on international tour with numerous circus companies, leading her to the Sotchi Olympic Games ceremonies with the creation of 9 aerial choreographies for the Compagnia Finzi Pasca, as well as the artistic and historic direction for Avudo, a major project for Montreal’s 375th anniversary. Based on her marine fascination and her desire to think about a sense of proximity and transmission, she reoriented her practice in 2017 to conceive écH2Osystème, an acrobatical 5 years-project from and about the St. Lawrence marine ecosystem, involving 200 collaborators from various sectors.

Since the 1990s, Susan Turcot has been interested in large-scale ecological and economic processes, such as deforestation and the exploitation of other natural resources, as well as in people, often working and documenting in situ. Drawing is at the heart of her work practices, which include sculpture, film and participatory works. Turcot’s works were presented at the Biennale de Montréal (2007, 2014) and at the Biennale de Saõ Paulo (2006). Her drawings are part of several collections, including the National Gallery of Canada and MOMA in New York. Susan is a long term summer resident in Tadoussac where she is presently working with a beluga behavioral ecologist, the GREMM, and the Coalition du Fjord against the proposed pipeline project.