Telling Stories: Narratives of Nationhood

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Picturing Canada: Canadian Symbol and Myth

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Armand Vaillancourt
Song of the Nations
About the Artist and the Work  |   Looking at the Art  |   Artistic and Cultural Heritage
image of artwork
Armand Vaillancourt, Song of the Nations1996Mixed media. 700 x 1415 x 280 cm. Collection of the artist. (detail)

Born in Black Lake in the Eastern Townships of Quebec in 1929, Armand Vaillancourt grew up in a rural setting. He pursued classical studies at the University of Ottawa in 1949 and 1950 before moving to Montreal in 1951. There, he studied at the École des beaux-arts until 1954. He was interested in creating public sculptural work, and it was during the time of his studies that he created his first major public work, The Tree of Durocher Street (1951-53). Today he lives and works in Montreal. Much of his work continues to be sculptural.

Throughout the years, Vaillancourt has always worked for the improvement of society. He has said that cultural change and revolution must come before social and political revolution. And he sees art as one of the tools for bringing about change and building a future vision for society. In art, you can communicate symbols and their power. Song of the Nations came about as a result of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery's desire to tackle the Quebec question. Vaillancourt agreed to create a major site-related work for the art gallery. During a concentrated eight-week residency in Prince Edward Island, Vaillancourt conceived and constructed the monumental sculptural installation.