HABILIS is an exploratory study, conducted between 2020 and 2022, focused on the enhancement of intangible cultural heritage. Starting in March 2023, the project will move into the creation phase with a view to a large-scale exhibition presented at the Écomusée du fier monde in Montréal, from mid-June to mid-October 2024.
Our intangible cultural heritage, that which is transmitted by word and deeds, is without a doubt the one to which Pierre Fauteux is most attuned. It is perhaps his training as an anthropologist, or simply his humanistic vision, that drives his admiration for human imagination, accomplishment, and know-how.
Through a series of black and white photos, Pierre presents the fruit of his encounters with people, all of them wise in their ways, who have accumulated so much knowledge and who help keep our heritage alive.
Nicolas is Greek and proud. He arrived in Quebec thirty years ago with a pair of scissors in his suitcase. They will fall silent the very same day when Nicolas will retire.
Poised at his sewing machine in full view through the window of the neighbourhood drycleaner’s, the man with steady hands makes alterations for customers who want to give their favourite garments a second lease on life.
I had introduced myself the day before and Nicolas was waiting for me. I noticed that for the occasion he was wearing his beautiful shirt monogrammed on the pocket with his initials NN.
Marlène is French. She came to Quebec to follow her dreams. Adventurous? Yes, but shy too.
Surrounded by men, she plies her craft in a workshop that makes the sets for our plays. Although the young woman is well appreciated within the team, there is no favouritism here. She wouldn’t want there to be.
She arrived with an empty toolbox and no experience. It was Rémi, the workshop manager, who shared the gift of his knowledge, happy to pass it on.
Marlène returned to France two years ago with her pockets full of Quebec know-how. What has become of her now?
The workshop of master luthier Jules Saint-Michel is known to all Montreal violinists and his expertise knows no boundaries. For more than forty years, people have entrusted Jules with some of the most beautiful instruments in the world, confident that he will treat them with love. He loves them so much that, since 1999, he has welcomed us to his small museum on the second floor of his world of strings.
Jules was not there the day I visited, but three luthiers were working to do his handiwork. An impassioned apprentice, Jean came from France to learn from the master. He was engrossed with fitting a joyful violin with a new key and a shiny coat of varnish. A craft that suited him to a “T”, he assured me.
The place had an atmosphere of resin and work well done.