Skip to content
Sponsored Content

La Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario continues to support Sudbury's thriving art scene

Founded in 1995 by a group of experimental artists, la Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario (GNO) was the first Francophone-artist-run centre in the province.

Founded in 1995 by a group of experimental artists, la Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario (GNO) was the first Francophone-artist-run centre in the province.

Laura Demers, the communications officer of GNO, said the founding members saw the need to create a space for emerging francophone artists and the importance of having a thriving art scene for the Sudbury community.  The GNO has had many iterations since its founding, Demers explained, with different directors and locations.

Their upcoming move to the Place des Art represents a new chapter for the gallery. Demers said the move will allow more resources and equipment for the artists to work with.

"We'll be able to present projects in a very professional setting compared to what we've been able to offer in the past," she said.

The gallery's previous move was a downsize to a smaller space, but this presented opportunities to diversify how they display art.

"It's been pretty innovative in the sense that we functioned essentially without a physical gallery for a long time," she said.

Virtual programming and community collaborations have allowed the GNO to share their artists' works outside the traditional walls of a gallery.

However, the GNO is more than just a place to exhibit art; it also emphasizes the artistic process.

"We like to feature artists that are innovative in their approach and that challenge the boundaries of what art can look like," she said.

claude wittman, an artist who did a virtual residency due to Covid, is doing just that by presenting an artistic blog centred on the housing crisis.

His final project was the culmination of a year of learning about affordable housing and posting this to a blog. Toward the end of his residency, the GNO organized an information session with the housing manager in Sudbury to highlight the process of applying for affordable accommodation in Sudbury.

The GNO is proud to showcase work like wittman's that addresses societal issues like poverty. Other projects by artists' have focused on social justice issues like LGBTQ representation and Black Lives Matter (BLM).

Sonia Ekiyor-Katimi, originally from Nigeria, created a large, colourful mural for an event organized by Black Lives Matter and Sudbury Pride. The mural — "Here to Stay, Baby!" —ended up being the title for an intersectional conference organized by BLM Sudbury.  Ekiyor-Katimi's artwork has also focused on the LGBTQ community. 

"Her residency consisted of interviewing members of the queer community and asking them about their experiences," Demers said.

The interviews were a template for creating portraits that accurately represented what her community looks like, rather than the perception imposed from the outside, Demers explained.

"She wanted to dignify [them] and give them really beautiful portraits that represented them and not over-sexualized or represented them in ways that they don't identify with."

Both wittman's and Ekiyor-Katimi's work raise awareness on topics important to the city of Sudbury. This connection to the city is also evident in the gallery's annual events.

"A lot of the focus of the GNO is activities that really spill into the city," Demers said. "Historically, we've put on these exhibitions for communities, like the Nouveau Louvre."

The Nouveau Louvre — one of the gallery's biggest hits — is an annual fundraising activity that both emerging and professional artists contribute to.

The GNO also puts on the Foire d'art alternatif de Sudbury — Alternative Art Fair of Sudbury — which welcomes both Canadian and international artists in a week of showcasing their art. The festival has been hosted in a range of unique venues, from a parking lot to an abandoned elementary school.

A shared sense of collaboration is felt during the Foire d'art alternatif de Sudbury, Demers said, and people are also intrigued to visit Sudbury.

"You have artists from all over Canada coming to activate the city," she said.

Learn more about what's happening at GNO on their website.