Ciels racines [root skies]
with Catherine Arsenault, Jacynthe Carrier, Hannah Claus, Marie-Michelle Deschamps, Caroline Gagné, Andréanne Godin, Maryse Goudreau, Natalie Jean, Dominique Pétrin, Manon Sioui, Leila Zelli, and with the participation of Céline Béland.
Arprim, Montréal

We enter this garden from the southeast. The glare of the bright sunlight impresses little spots in the back of our eyes. Closing them, they look like constellations. We can almost imagine them giving off a pleasant scent, like the faint, faraway perfume of linden flowers. Life develops where it chooses, and if we get close enough, we can actually hear it grow. The sky and the earth make us larger, act as extensions of ourselves in all directions, making us see what part of us exists outside of ourselves, and what part of the universe exists inside of us. This garden is actually thirteen gardens, and actually much more, since they have been passed down to us. Their vision extends both to the far away and the very close. They die a little in order to go on living. Over there, flowers grow even in the shade. Here we can become trees, or try to catch a bird’s-eye view of ourselves, and see that our skies have entagled roots.

Ciels racines [root skies] is a garden composed of thirteen women, artists, authors, friends, mothers and daughters. In continuity with her photographic book Le jardin d’après, in which the voices and presences of women multiply, Anne-Marie Proulx now wished to welcome even more of them into the project. In it, the notion of garden becomes not only a motif for representation, but especially a place of friendships, of transmission and of rooting, an opportunity for the sharing of times and spaces, of forms and ideas.

Catherine Arsenault — creatures on the ground, from L'ordre des choses (sculptures)
Jacynthe Carrier — flowers and girls in the garden (assemblage of photographs)
Hannah Claus — skies (photographs)
Marie-Michelle Deschamps — specimens and support (enamel work and sculpture)
Caroline Gagné — ambiant sound, vibrations and rock, from Bruire (installation sonore)
Andréanne Godin — cherry branch supporting branches in the snow, secrets (drawings)
Maryse GoudreauThe apple trees bear the names of my friends and family; here is Anne-Marie (photograph on vinyl) et Cut before the dismantling of the family orchard (apple crate and video)
Natalie JeanForest, my garden (texts)
Dominique Pétrin — camouflages (photographs on plywood, on the ground and against the wall)
Manon Sioui — flowers (assemblages of drawings, photos, corn husk and oak cupules)
Leila ZelliComme un arbre (video) et bird (drawing)
Céline Béland — our suns and our moons (drawings)
Anne-Marie Proulx — the garden (mural hotograph), vines (curtain), teared pages from Le jardin d'après, willow stems, logs, mirrors, nests, dried flowers, books, as well as seeds and bell offered by Caroline.

Photos : Jean-Michael Seminaro (views) and Anne-Marie Proulx (photos of texts)

Acknowledgements to the Canada Council for the Arts for its support. Maryse Goudreau's video was created in collaboration with the permanent group of artists of Théâtre PÀP, l’Ensemble. Dominique Pétrin’s photos were taken by Paul Litherland. Source of Leila Zelli’s video:


In springtime, on the mountain, I am in love with the sun, I hold to it, bed down with it and am the first to rise.

I open my eyes, outside the air is mauve. I stand, it is dawn.

I walk toward the roseate glow that lifts skywards with every step I take. He is there, hidden in the mountains’ shadows. To make his entry into a flaming sky, he breathes on the coals clinging to the clouds’ skirts. I dart down the mossy path, climb into my cabin perched on high, and ready myself for the aurora’s arrival. It is a success, the sky is ablaze. When the light arcs over the horizon, the effect is stunning: the canopy flushes, the tops of the spruces drip with blood, the flowering of the maples turns ruby, and every bird begins to sing. All reticence foregone, he shows himself whole, naked in his perfect camber, and takes over the sky. I am stilled, vanquished, while the flights of warblers, chickadees, and nuthatches weave from tree to tree, through spiderwebs rimmed with pearls of dew.

This is the moment when the morning chooses to speak to me. In a gentle voice, it says:
Gaze on the hour before you and remember to love.





A storm has borne down on the newborn springtime, luminous and unkempt as a tardy diva singing her heart out for a hall left empty by her admirers. Under the white, the green: that is what I am thinking. At rest beneath the snow, its form preserved in memory, every plant is plotting its emergence in a great quest for an achieved leaf.

Who are you? It’s a question I often ask myself. Since I’ve transformed a rocky clearing into an edible garden, I know I’m on the side of all that grows. In cities I can sense the primeval paradise held captive beneath the asphalt and I urge on the perennials that occupy the smallest crevice, doggedly flowering by hook or by crook, heedless of car tires, comely and proud.

On what may one rely? This tree the other day, standing tall, seemingly sturdy. I was catching my breath on a steep slope, just the weight of my hand brought it to earth. It was waiting for me to stretch out on the moss, to turn green again. What to do? Turn the world green? It’s a thought. One thing is sure, we will do it together.

We must not tell each other stories, only truth makes for revolution.

DP — NJ▲ — CG▼ — AMP — MG




My precious sun has come on stage, the diva has withdrawn, and all is there, vivid, cleansed by the melting. I stroke a small rosette, foreseeing already the bush that it will be, swathed in honeyed flowers abuzz with pollen lovers. I raise my eyes to wash them in the blue, while what’s infinite sets its gaze on my tiny self, propped against a mountain.

Far off, the river mirrors the sky, bears the clouds away, my questions in tow. I am alive, free and anonymous among the trees. Life has entrusted me with a landscape and I have a plan. To nurture light, hybridize the forest, grow a tentacular garden.

The work is enormous, I must stay strong, but effort begets strength, and I have my own humble strategy grounded in a productive slowness and in respites.
There must be respites.

MG — MMD — CA▼ — MS+AMP — CB — AMP — CG▼ — MS▼ — AG▼



AMP — CG▼ — MS▼ — AG▼ — JC — CA▼ — AMP▼▲ — CG


JC — CA▼ — AMP▼▲



Stretched out on the bench, I watch a tiger swallowtail come to rest of its own free will near my nose on an orange hawkweed. It thrusts its probe into the flower’s shaggy heart and begins to slowly beat its wings in a movement that seems complicit in the pumping of nectar. I admire its yellow coat of velvet striped with black, and the collar of blue beads that adorns its tail. Without warning, it flies off to join a friend passing near. They cross my field of vision, full tilt, one on the other, jostled by the wind.

A heavy truck is growling deep in the valley, then silence returns, discreet as always, it rolls out its white page to receive the thrush’s musical tracery.

The rowans are dropping their petals. It’s raining flowers, and their scent is everywhere. Suddenly it smells like childhood, my senses leave my thoughts behind, sap rises in my veins. I only want forms, colours, smells.
I turn toward the garden, time full in my hands.

NJ — LZ — CA▼ — HC — CA▼ — MMD▼ — AMP


AMP — DP — NJ — CB — AMP▼