As a Maliseet, Raymond Dupuis’ artworks often deal with identity search. He draws mnemonic territoriality, reinventing rhythms and signals with immemorial roots. He settles his work by representing cartography of psycho-geographical drifts. The artist asserts the presence of traces and signs as symbols of his origins. His first assemblages, which look like totems, are constructed with various pieces of electronic devices. The artist also adds to them forms inspired by the First Nations’ iconography such as icons and symbols from the Hopi and the Navajo tribes from New Mexico. Raymond Dupuis explains that his artworks allow him to give a voice to these ancient nations through elements of obsolete modern communication. He tries to establish a coherent relation and find balance between traditional cultures and the modernity of today’s societies.
The artist has a strong relationship with land and illustrates it through a series of works (oil, collages and photography). He tries to reconfigure the forgotten and lost territories of his ancestors. His practice reflects a slow time slip in the urban experience, shedding light on his nativity. It puts forward the cultural heritage of its precursors through the reality of the contemporary world. He feels Maliseet in the forest and Quebecker in urban areas; he takes in both identity and mixes them in his artworks. “I firmly believe that there are intermediary spaces between human entities and places. My work explores oppositions and complementarities, space and time, loneliness, construction and inference. I question the perception that another memory resides. I especially try to reconfigure the forgotten and lost territories to explore this poorly defined vision of uprooting. I trace the painful memories of my past through the winds of a long migration. My works breathe the uncertainties, the wanderings and difficulties of being an aboriginal within the urban experience. My urgency to express myself and to trace the urbanity of my people is rooted in the fact that the Maliseet Nation is dispersed across the province. I am the space where I am in the architecture of the soul that permeates the post-trail. I live despite myself in the unspeakable wandering between parking lots and grassy cadastres. I live in spite of my true identity, caught along sidewalks explored too often, and filled with indifference, nostalgic of the silence of ancient places. ” Raymond Dupuis
Son of a Metis father and a Quebecker mother, Raymond Dupuis was born in Nova Scotia. He studied at the Institute of Applied Arts in Montréal, from 1964 to 1967. Since, he has presented more than 30 solo exhibitions in Montréal, New York and participated in numerous group exhibitions in Canada, in the United States, Europe and Taiwan. His paintings, sculptures and assemblages are part of major public collections in Québec, Ontario, British Columbia and Philadelphia.