Rencontres décoloniales à la Rochelle - Histoires et identités autochtones (Chapitre 1)

Musee du Nouveau Monde
Regalia Blackfoot
Centre Intermondes
Sign Rue Fleuriau

Rencontres décoloniales à la Rochelle - Histoires et identités autochtones (Chapitre 1)

Turtle Island / Canada / France Phase 1: Residency for research/professional meetings from 9th to 28th January 2023

Project curator, co-producer and representation - Catherine Sicot- at the invitation of the Centre Intermondes - Ethnopôle Humanités Océanes (La Rochelle)

Multi-disciplinary project France/Canada engaging collaboration between contemporary Indigenous artists, curators, researchers, Indigenous and Canadian scholars and teachers and their counterparts in La Rochelle.

Barry Ace

General objectives of the project:To commission works by Indigenous artists in response to the historical and cultural context of La Rochelle.  The project has been inspired by the history and museums of La Rochelle.  Part of the museum collections illustrates the history of colonization of the Americas, in particular that of the Indigenous lands today called Canada. The purpose is to revisit the history of colonialism as presented in the museums, from an Indigenous perspective through the creation of works of art. The aim will also be to bring the issue into the present by sharing views: what world(s) and according to whom?

Development of shared frameworks from an Indigenous point of view: the works created will act as the anchor for scheduling an exhibition in France and Canada, an international multi-disciplinary symposium, a set of publications in various formats and the development of teaching programmes. Disciplines involved: curatorial activities, contemporary art, museology, history, anthropology, teaching, and other human and earth sciences


Objective of the first phase of the project – 9th to 28th January 2023:

Indigenous and Canadian curators, artists, researchers, and teachers visit to La Rochelle to discover the cultural heritage, present their work, and encounter the work of their peers, and to engage with them during these multi-disciplinary professional sessions that are not open to the general public. The aim is to lay the foundations for collaboration and outline future projects.


La Rochelle and its Museums

Currently the small town of La Rochelle has 75,000 inhabitants, and from the 17th century it was the second largest slave-trading port after Nantes.  It was also the port of departure for the “New World” –known to Indigenous peoples as Turtle Island – in particular to the northern territories, formerly la Nouvelle France, present day Quebec.  The architecture of the old town around the port is a clear testimony to the fortunes acquired as a result by families of La Rochelle.

This history is also manifest through the impressive public collections found in four museums - the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle (natural history museum), the Musée des Beaux-Arts (fine arts museum), the Musée Maritime (maritime museum) and the Musée du Nouveau Monde (New World museum). The Musée du Nouveau Monde (MNM) inaugurated in La Rochelle in 1982 is housed in a private mansion purchased in the 18th century by Aimé Benjamin Fleuriau, plantation owner in Santo Domingo (currently Haiti and Dominican Republic).

The Fleuriau family retained ownership of this town house until 1974. It was purchased by the municipality and the mayor decided to make it a museum dedicated to the narrative of links between La Rochelle and the history of the colonialization of the Americas. The first curator of the museum, Alain Parent, from La Rochelle, was Director of Exhibitions at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal (Museum for Contemporary Art) from1969 to 1978.

Museums Histoire Naturelle


Barry Ace is a visual artist based in Ottawa. He is a debendaagzijig (citizen) of the M'Chigeeng First Nation, Manitoulin Island, Ontario. His work integrates the impact of the digital era and the way it transforms and exponentially permeates the Anishinaabe culture with new technologies and new ways of communicating. His work creates a link between historical and contemporary knowledge, art and power whilst preserving the distinctive Anishinaabe aesthetics that create a bond between generations. His work has been presented in many groups and solo exhibitions and is to be found in major private and public collections both in Canada and abroad.

Lori Beavis (Michi Saagiig Anishinaabe – Irish-Welsh) is an independent curator whose curatorial work articulates narrative and memory in the context of family and history, cultural identity, art education and self-representation. Beavis is a citizen of Hiawatha First Nation at Rice Lake, Ontario. She lives in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal) where she is Executive Director of the Centre d’artistes autochtones Daphne.
Adrian Stimson is a visual artist, member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation, territory covered by Treaty No. 7 (Alberta), Canada. Stimson was a student and resident at the University of Guelph, at the Banff Centre for the Arts. He was awarded a BFA with distinction by Alberta College of Art and Design and has an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. He received the Prize for influential alumni from the University of Saskatchewan in 2020, the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2018, and REVEAL- First Nation's art award from the Hnatyshyn Foundation in 2017. In 2009 he received the Blackfoot Visual Arts Award, the Alberta Centennial medal in 2005 and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee medal in 2003.

Since 2017, Georgiana Uhlyarik has held the position of Fredrik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art, and of Co-lead of the Department of Indigenous + Canadian art at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), in Toronto (Canada) with Anishinaabe Curator Wanda Nanibush.  The publication, Moving the Museum: Indigenous & Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, for which she was co-editor, has just been released by Goose Lane Editions in January 2023. Uhlyarik devotes a significant part of her activities to the work of Canadian and American women artists of the 20th century.  She is Adjunct Faculty in the Art History Departments at the University of Toronto and York, and is involved in modern literary and cultural research at the Toronto Metropolitan University. Originally from Romania, she lives in Toronto with her twin sons.

Catherine Sicot, Commissioner / curator of Les Rencontres décoloniales at the invitation of Edouard Mornaud, Director of the Centre Intermondes (La Rochelle). Sicot is an independent French-Canadian curator and cultural producer, founder of Elegoa Cultural Productions. Based first in Rennes and then in Paris, Toronto, Havana and recently installed in Montreal, she brings together artists and territories around issues of interculturality and decolonization. Working in a partnership framework, she commissions and co-produces visual arts and media works and promotes their diffusion through curating exhibitions, artists residencies and directing publications.

Catherine Sicot would like to thank Anishinaabe Curator Wanda Nanibush for her support and advice on the project from the outset.


From the Centre Intermondes/ Ethnopôle Humanités océanes:

Camille Devineau, Project leader - Ethnopôle Humanités Océanes Centre Intermondes;
Laurent Vidal, Director of the Centre Intermondes/ Ethnopôle Humanités océanes (plus see below);

From the museums of La Rochelle:

Mélanie Moreau, Director and Curator of the Musée du Nouveau Monde;
Elise Patole Edoumba, Director and Curator of the Musée du Nouveau Monde;
Arnaud Valdenaire, Deputy Director of Les Musées d’Art et d’Histoire de La Rochelle (participation in the preparation of the visit);

From La Rochelle University – Faculty of Literature, Languages, Arts and Human Sciences:

Jordie Ansari, Temporary Attaché for Teaching and Anthropological Research;
Jean-Sébastien Noël, Lecturer in contemporary history;
Florence Petroff Florence, Lecturer in modern history;
Laurent Vidal, Professor of contemporary history at La Rochelle University, President of the scientific council of the Ethnopôle and President of the Centre Intermondes;

Guest from the International and Atlantic history Research Centre (CRHIA) (La Rochelle University/Nantes University):

Associated Researchers: Maria Isabel de Jesus Chrysostomo, geographer, Universidade Federale de Viçosa, Brazil;
Guest researcher: Humberto Kzure Cerqueira, architect, filmmaker, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;

Other Guests:

Doria Ardiet, Head of Visual arts, Ville de La Rochelle

Anna-Maria Spano, Adjointe au Maire de La Rochelle, Patrimoine et circuits culturels

Olive Martin et Patrick Bernier, artist collective (Nantes)

Laurence Guérault, film director (La Rochelle)

Danielle Olgiati-Trocmé, intercultural mediator (La Rochelle)

Salimata Diop, independent curator

Iman Humaydan, writer in residence, Centre Intermondes

Aline Chezelle, artist

Ablaye Mbaye, artist musician

Alexandre Bourbonnais, Adjunct Director, Mille Plateaux, Centre Chorégraphique Nationl, La Rochelle

Olivia Grandville, Director, choregrapher, Mille Plateaux, Centre Chorégraphique Nationl, La Rochelle

Simultaneous tranlation, January 19 : Zahia Bachi

Technical requirements, January 19: Anouck Laurendeau



Visits: museums, Centre Chorégraphique and the city

One day symposium: 19 january 2013 - For program, click here



Elegoa Cultural Productions (Canada)
with the support of the Canada Council For the Arts  - Support for Artistic practice Programmes: Innovation and development of the sector (2022) and Promoting International Visibility: Mobility (2018).
Le Centre Intermondes - Ethnopôle Humanités Océanes (France)


Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle
Musée du Nouveau Monde
La Rochelle University
Centre for research into international and Atlantic history (CRHIA)



Left-hand column, from top to bottom:

Inner courtyard of the Musée du Nouveau Monde / sculpture of Toussaint Louverture (Ousmane Sow): Catherine Sicot

Street intervention, rue Fleuriau: Catherine Sicot

View of a showcase in the Musée du Nouveau Monde including Blackfoot regalia: Catherine Sicot

Centre Intermondes/ Ethnopôle Humanités océanes: City of La Rochelle

Street sign of Rue Fleuriau in La Rochelle : Catherine Sicot

Right-hand side, from top to bottom:

Visual identity (double photo): Lori Beavis/Barry Ace

View from the Atlantic side of La Rochelle Old Port   harbour entrance: Catherine Sicot

View of a hall in the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle : Catherine Sicot

Logo ElegoaLogo Canada Council For The ArtsLogo Centre Intermondes Logo Ethnopole Humanites OceanesLogo Ville De La RochelleLogo Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle La Rochellelogo musee art histoire rochelleCentre Intermondes Ethnopole Humanites Oceaneslogo La Rochelle Universite