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Morocco Fragments | Michelle Letarte

March 6 – 24
Gallery Reception: Saturday, March 9, 4 – 7 pm
Zoom Artist Talk: Saturday, March 16, 1 pm (Register via Eventbrite)
Meet the Artist & Demo: Sunday, March 17, 1 – 4 pm
Artist present on Saturdays (1-5:30 pm) and Sundays (12-4 pm) and by appointment

The artworks exhibited in Morocco Fragments were inspired by a trip to Marrakech in June 2023.  A week of Immunology teaching was followed by a week exploring the ancient Medina and venturing to the Atlas Mountains and Essaouira. 

Marrakech, built as far back as 1070, is known as the red city; its ramparts and buildings were made of beaten red ochre clay. While visiting the El Badi Palace and the Saadian Tombs, dating from the 16th century, I was inspired by the old walls and the stories hidden in their crevices. 

I started with a group of old paintings, done 18 years ago after my first trip to Morocco. The works were recycled using first a mixture of gels, sands, and gesso to create a wall-like effect; pieces of gauze, previously dyed with indigo or rust, were then laid onto the wet surface. Natural pigments from Marrakech, were later applied to reproduce the captivating vibrant hues of this incredible city. 

Smaller artworks illustrating Marrakech, such as the magnificent Jardin Majorelle and several historical buildings, were generated by photo transfers, to share travelling vignettes with the viewers.  

A day trip to Essaouira to revisit this old Portuguese fortified city on the Atlantic coast, and its great harbour and medina, generated multiple images of fishing boats and doors painted in the magnificent Bleu de Mogador, surrounded by the dazzling green of the sea. 

A terrible earthquake shook Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains last September, killing thousands of people and leaving the country in a wounded state. I felt deeply their sorrow, tore apart many of my printed photos and built collages, piecing together Fragments of Morocco and great moments shared with its feisty citizens.  

Michelle Letarte is an experimental scientist and a mixed media artist based in Toronto. Years of research with cells and molecules give her a distinct and often very focused perspective, trying to unravel the secrets of ancient walls/ caves encountered in her numerous travels, or exploring unusual natural habitats. She is an experimentalist, working in different techniques, using gels and textures, acrylic, pigments and pastels. She sees every exhibition as a new project, in a different location, to be explored and shared with the viewers. Her artworks are in private collections in many countries. Michelle has been a Member at Propeller Art Gallery since 2009, served as a Board Member for several years and is currently the past-Chair and Chair of the Partnership Committee. 

Special thanks to our community partners and sponsors. 

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