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de la fiction elle représente la transformation en acte de l'identité
québécoise grâce/ou à cause de ces nouveaux venus, de toute race et
de toute couleur' (113; from the angle of fiction she represents the pro-
cess of transformation of Quebecois identity thanks/due to these new-
comers, of all races and all colours). 39
Why, then, foreground the colour 'white,' and what is its relationship
to 'les aurores boréales,' renowned rather for its spectacular displays of
varied colours? White is the most ambivalent of all colours; in fact, in
terms of pigment, it is defined as the absence of colour, one way, to be
sure, to look at race, in terms of universality, but in a homogeneous way
that denies diversity. On the other hand, seen in terms of light, as im-
plied by 'aurores,' white is the presence of all colours, heterogeneity
united, and this is the way Monique Proulx appears to represent cul-
ture, 40 much as Aimé Césaire sees it: 'Une des caractéristiques de la cul-
ture, c'est le style, c'est-à-dire cette marque propre à un peuple et à une
époque … il est bien vrai que la règle ici est de l'hétérogénéité. Mais
attention … il s'agit d'une hétéogénéité vécue intérieurement comme ho-
mogénéité.' (201-2; One of the characteristics of culture is its style, a dis-
tinguishing mark that is peculiar to a people or period … heterogeneity
is certainly the rule here. But beware … it's a matter of heterogeneity
experienced from within as homogeneity.) 41 Just what constitutes the
French-Canadian 'style,' its identity, is, of course, the question.
All of the writers in this chapter can be said to reconfigure traditional
notions linked to identity: winter, hockey, the city, ethnicity; all of the
painters can be termed 'traditional' in terms of subject matter: that is,
the positioning and enhancing of a cultural place against the back-
ground of wintry space. At the same time, all of the painters, especially
Côté, Bergeron, and Leclerc, embody a dynamic way of seeing rendered
by innovative techniques that matches the spirit of Vigneault, Carrier,
and Proulx and points towards a new 'vision' of Quebec, as articulated
by Guy Robert in the introduction to his book on Quebec painting since
1940: 'le Québec ne sera pas considéré ici comme une île, une forteresse
close, mais bien plutôt comme un lieu ouvert, dynamique, assumant
ses antinomies et son stress quotidien, se donnant stratégiquement un
sens dialectique, et de façon particulièrement remarquable au fil de ses
oeuvres plastiques.' (197; Quebec will not be considered here as an is-
land, an enclosed fortress, but rather as a place that is open, dynamic,
assuming its contradictions and its daily stress, strategically acquiring
a dialectical meaning, and in a way that is particularly noticeable in the
development of its visual arts.)
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