About a hundred years ago, the corpse of a Black man was found on the beach at Pointe-aux-Loups.
The Islanders, not knowing if the man had been baptized, decided to bury him in the dune. But the body regularly became unearthed, and, whenever a Madelinot passed by, something strange always happened—a cart wheel would suddenly come off, or there would be unexplained noises and lights in the night. In 2013, Katia Grenier drew from this legend to create a map of a part of the Magdalen Islands. For this project, Grenier was inspired by the sung and painted mapping practices of the Australian Aboriginal peoples to develop in turn a potentially more evocative and personal representation of the Islands’ territory.
The Negro’s Hill
As part of Songlines, the artist returns to the legend of the Negro’s Hill. She will seek to see the landscape anew, and, through textile work and art-nature interventions, will trace the imaginary paths of her experience of this territory near Pointe-aux-Loups. Grenier is especially inspired by the legend’s buried/unearthed aspect, and will collect a series of gestures, objects and images, which she will use to create a renewed map. Instead of a topographical map, she intends to create a map-suit, which can be worn on the body and will allow the wearer to know where he is simply by rummaging through his pockets. In this way, the artist or the visitor may encounter the wild soul of the Magdalen Islands (who is she, where is she hiding?). Grenier will also develop a night-time experiment to be carried out at the Negro’s Hill.
Visual artist Katia Grenier has lived in the Magdalen Islands for ten years. Her artistic approach, begun in 1997 following an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts program at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, is related to installed forms and sculpture, textile art and nature art. Also an independent curator, in 2011 Grenier organized events and edited Beausir les mots for the artist-run centre AdMare. She recently returned from an artist residency in Texels, Netherlands, where, together with author Aart van den Brink, she explored concepts in textile literature.