“Maybe that helped Madonnas,” says Victor Dallaire, laughing.
Author of numerous works imbued with the religious spirit, the sculptor has experienced the kind of experience that transforms the disbelievers in mystics, artists devotees. For a little over a year, he fought cancer of the esophagus that left him weakened, without altering his morale.
“I always had as its motto that we should not let go. Today I am in remission and I start quietly working, but I do not run after the customers. Those I see, they follow me for a while, “said Victor Dallaire Wednesday in an interview with the Progress-Sunday.
Now aged 73, he has just taken a picture began before the terrible diagnosis, delivered in January 2015. He had spaced visits to his studio, who had the strength to carve, began to carve the big room linden that sits on the floor, a work intended for an outfitter.
“Sometimes I went into the shop, but I was content to watch my work and make sketches. It is sure that the work I missed, “reports Baieriverain. It was therefore pleased to resume the creation recently. Ten minutes in ten minutes, dexterity returned, like the desire to complete the painting.
“I started by making a corner, top, and my hands were stiff. There is also the fact that you’re less sure of yourself when you fall sick like that. I wondered if I could finish this piece, but now it’s going well, “said Victor Dallaire.
The customer wanted to see representatives of the boreal fauna and it will not be disappointed. The work includes moose, bear, wolf, hare, deer and even a wolverine, among other animals. Some figures are barely sketched while other reliefs betray the attention to detail that has always characterized the artist.
“It’s one of the tables where I put the largest number of animals. I am confident to deliver in the fall during the hunting season, “notes Victor Dallaire. In parallel, it will give classes to some students, a practice that kept busy for a dozen years in Jonquière. Only his declining health forced him to give up.
If one adds the retrospective presented until October 2 at The Chicoutimi Pulp, an exhibition entitled The wood in the soul, this spring is seen that, more than ever, synonymous with rebirth. The sun came out, as well as inside the home of Great Bay where the artist lived for 42 years.
“Victor is on recovery and as he loves the sun, the energy will come back,” anticipates his wife Madeleine Coulombe. As serene as his old friend, she is reassured when making Saucettes in his studio, he sinks his tools in softwood. Because every time is his life line that lengthens.
Victor Dallaire does not lace when he portrayed the teenager who one day led to Saint Joseph’s College of Great Bay. He speaks of a young man who was not suited to the traditional school. Career prospects seemed limited, before a teacher faster than other helps him find his vocation.
This man was Father Isidore Bergeron, an art teacher who loved to welcome students in his studio, where he had gathered plenty of tools for woodworking. “All pitchers, Father took them and the redécollait” describes the artist, which includes in the lot.
He who always trailed a pocket knife to Gosser sticks, which even did it with razor blades “borrowed” from his father, was made to agree with Father Isidore. Early on, it was asked to create sculptures, which enabled it to measure the talent of the young person.
“He asked me to reproduce parts from Montreal and my copies were identical. The abbot showed them to others to motivate them, “recalls Victor Dallaire. His teacher believed in him so much that he requested – and received – a grant from the Ministry of Culture of Quebec.
Thus the young man led to Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, the hometown of Bourgault brothers. They responded to Brother Isidore there was no school at home, but in Québec this time, it does not represent an insurmountable obstacle.
“Father told Bourgault brothers, were called the three berets, to find things to happen to me, says Victor Dallaire. That’s how they kept me and I became the first student in the school, which was founded that day. ”
André, who had welcomed him home, died shortly after, following a road accident. It is Médard and Jean-Julien, respectively specializing in religious art and the making of relief paintings, which framed his training for two years.
“There were church pews, since we still built in that time. I also repaired many angels during my stay, “observes the Baieriverain smiling. He was to stay a year, but thanks to a contest which was attached a purse of $ 1400, the second year was added.
The Bourgault were good teachers, says their former pupil. They were willing to hire him at the end of his training, but at some point, the desire to return to the Saguenay became too strong. The sculptor has moved in with his father, where he opened his first workshop.
Thus the young man who seemed condemned to marginality, whose future was apparently blocked a few years earlier, began a long and successful career as an artist and teacher. At the same time, he agreed with the Abbot Isidore, the first who believed in his potential.
Three milestones of an exemplary career
When Victor Dallaire takes a look at his career as a sculptor, several projects coming to the surface. Some have given him greater exposure, while others have made him live rewarding experiences. Here are three that have marked this exemplary course.
It is impossible to visit the cribs exhibition of Rivière-Éternité without noticing the strong presence of Baieriverain. The founder of the event, the late Jean-Marie Couet, granted him his confidence, illustrated by the numerous orders made over the years.
“It gave me the visibility and experience, since that is where, among others, I started working with a chainsaw, reports Victor Dallaire. I used it to create a totem installed near the church. I adapted the tool to prepare the tree, which measured 35 feet. ”
Another work that made the date eternitoise Creche. This ambitious work includes animals as well as people associated with the annual exhibition. “I joined Mr. Couet and I, too, am in. I wear a hat and have a pocket on the back, “says the artist.
The Flood of Creche
This painting was done in the wake of the 1996 flood, an event that Victor Dallaire lived first hand. His neighborhood was evacuated, but held him to stay at his home. The work was conducted in 1997, again at the request of Jean-Marie Couet, and is at the Musée du Fjord in La Baie.
“I wanted to show people who have lost their home, which was not my case. To get there, I made sketches starting from the lake Ha! Ha!. I continued to Grande Baie, “says the sculptor.
Among the experiences that retains Victor Dallaire, traveling in Europe occupy a privileged place. For 22 years he spent there, especially in France, but also in neighboring countries. Was invited to work in public places, often on the occasion of festivals held as the holidays approach.
“I even realized works inside a cave, the Troglodydes Saumur. I made snowmen wearing hats. My name is inscribed in stone, “reports the Baieriverain with a hint of pride in his voice.