The emotion felt by each winner upon receiving this major honour was palpable and was enhanced significantly by the presence of their peers, friends and family members who bore witness to this great moment. Hosted by Claude Deschênes, the event was held in the Wilder Building (Espace Danse) in Montréal, with the Minister of Culture and Communications and Minister Responsible for the Protection of the French Language, Marie Montpetit, in attendance. The award winners—, Claudine Monfette representing and —were presented with OALQ insignias by Anne-Marie Jean, CEO of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ).
“I would also like to express my admiration for the Companions (Compagnes/Compagnons des arts et des lettres) honoured at tonight’s ceremony. These men and women are formidable ambassadors for our culture because they are the embodiment of Québec as it is today, inspirational and innovative, its talent recognized by the entire world,” said Ms. Montpetit.
Three of the 16 winners in attendance are members of Aboriginal communities. The sense of pride and recognition with respect to their contributions to the development and promotion of Québec culture provided a special touch to the event.
About L’Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec (OALQ)
Instituted in 2015 to mark CALQ’s 20th anniversary, the OALQ is an honorary distinction presented to individuals whose exemplary achievements have contributed to Québec’s artistic and literary development. The recipients are recommended to CALQ’s board of directors by an independent committee following an annual call for nominations. In 2018, the committee members were Liza Frulla, René Homier-Roy, Maxime Codère, Marième Ndiaye, Kevin McCoy and Hannah Claus. The distinction is symbolized by an insignia designed by jewellery artist Christine Dwane. To date, some 90 Québecers have been awarded the insignia. .
Working from a perspective of equitable and sustainable artistic development, CALQ supports artistic and literary creation, experimentation and production in all regions of Québec. It also facilitates the dissemination and promotion of artistic and literary works in Québec, the rest of Canada and around the world.
List of 2018 award winners and short biographies
, a film and musical studio geared towards First Nations youth that works with UNESCO in an advisory capacity.
Poétesse, romancière, dramaturge, , féministe engagée et militante LGBT, Nicole Brossard a marqué de sa plume le mouvement d’avant-garde poétique au Québec. Son œuvre polarisée entre modernisme et militantisme a été récompensée de deux Prix du Gouverneur général, du Grand Prix du festival international de la Poésie en 1989 et du Prix Athanase-David en 1991, entre autres.
Screenwriter, film editor, photography director, filmmaker and producer, Fernand Dansereau has had a hand in nearly every aspect of cinema, primarily at the National Film Board, where he put together the French-language team. A revolutionary documentary filmmaker and social-change cinema pioneer, he has contributed to the advent and development of direct cinema. His writing for television includes and a number of scripts for the series Caserne 24. He received the Albert Tessier award for his career achievements.
Thanks to her talent and fiery virtuosity, Angèle Dubeau has achieved the amazing feat of promoting classical music and bringing it to a wider audience. An outstanding artist, violinist and conductor, she has influenced a whole generation of musicians. In 1997, , a string/piano ensemble. Angèle Dubeau has sold more records in Canada than any other female classical musician.
Piano prodigy, prolific composer, conductor and arranger, André Gagnon accompanied various leading Québec singers prior to gaining international acclaim for his music. He has expressed his talent in a broad array of genres, ranging from baroque to disco and including compositions for TV, cinema and the theatre. .
A renowned sculptor whose works are featured in the world’s greatest museums, Mattiusi Iyaituk has been working in stone for over 40 years while telling the stories and legends of his people. He has gained recognition for , as well as for his blend of realism and abstraction in his highly stylized pieces.
On stage, as well as on radio and TV, Roland Lepage has pursued a career as an actor and dramatist in Québec and France, in addition to authoring original works and translating/transposing classical and contemporary favourites. His work on had a huge influence on young TV viewers. He also served as Theatre du Trident’s artistic director.
A leading producer of shows and international events, André Menard reshaped Québec’s cultural landscape by co-founding with Alain Simard, in addition to . Known for his love and respect for performing artists, as well as for his dedication to venues such as Metropolis (now MTELUS) and the Spectrum, he has helped to launch young careers while promoting superstars with the same generosity.
Costume and set designer, , Ginette Noiseux has forged a career steeped in non-conformism, artistic risk and experimentation. She has received numerous Masque awards, in addition to the Woman of Merit award for arts and culture (2002) and the Conseil des Arts de Montréal Grand Prix (2004) in recognition of her commitment to difference and originality.
In 1984, Jeannot Painchaud fell in love with the circus. Working first as an artist, he devoted himself to with six other Magdalen Islanders in 1993. His love of risk and his use of other art forms in acrobatics form the twin pillars of his approach, which blends a variety of perspectives. Promoting Québec circus arts in the international arena over the past 25 years, he has created 15 shows characterized by their poetry and humanity.
Born in The Hague (Netherlands), Constance V. Pathy holds degrees in law and music. Known for her discreet generosity as a volunteer and patron, she has enriched cultural life in Québec for over 40 years thanks to her dedicated service on the boards of various artistic organizations and, in particular, by , whose new home in Montréal’s entertainment district was arranged thanks to her generosity.
Art historian, museologist, arts commissioner and professor, John R. Porter has gained distinction for his versatility and scope, as well as for his outstanding contributions to the development and promotion of Québec’s artistic heritage. As , he oversaw memorable exhibitions devoted to Clarence Gagnon, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Irene F. Whittome and Madeleine Arbour, among others.
Dancer, choreographer, teacher and artistic director, Jeanne Renaud is . Fond of setting up provocative and stimulating encounters between major creators, she maintains close ties with the Automatistes, rejecting narrative structures while devoting herself to all forms of experimentation and bringing together elements of music, visual arts, poetry and avant-garde theatre, as well as dance. She co-founded Montréal’s École moderne de danse with Françoise Riopelle and also founded Le Groupe de la Place Royale.
Manager of major urban festivals and performing arts producer, Alain Simard has worked to promote the international standing of hundreds of Québec companies and artists. In addition to founding L’Équipe Spectra, Montréal’s International Jazz Festival, Francos de Montréal and Montréal en Lumière, he is executive director of, which under his leadership co-produced works with LaLaLa Human Steps, Marie Chouinard, Robert Lepage, Cirque Éloize, Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, among others.
A member of the Huron-Wendat nation, Yves Sioui Durand is a writer, playwright, actor, director and filmmaker. His quest for a specifically Amerindian theatre rooted in First Nations myths and history led him to found Ondinnok Productions, whose example has inspired the creation of other companies. Recognized for his commitment to transmitting his ancestors’ cultural legacy to new generations, he calls for an Amerindian cultural reconstruction through art.
Mixing humour and intelligence, the Czech-born, Montréal-based artist the absurdities of life and the contradictions of society. She recently won the Paul-Émile-Borduas award.
Sculptor, painter and printmaker, Armand Vaillancourt has explored the esthetic possibilities of multiple techniques and materials, extending the boundaries of each through his innovations and demolishing conventions to build . Marked by emotion, commitment and a high degree of formal liberty, his creations are tumultuous declarations of independence. Although often greeted with controversy, they have also won numerous honours, including the Paul-Émile Borduas award.
Filmmaker, screenwriter, editor and producer, Jean-Marc Vallée has carved out a place for himself in Québec and Hollywood thanks to a series of personal films marked by great emotional intensity and featuring wounded or marginal characters attempting to rebuild their lives. He directed C.R.A.Z.Y., regarded as one of the best Canadian films of all time, along with . Appreciated for his work with actors while garnering critical and commercial success, he has won numerous Genie, Iris and Emmy awards, in addition to a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award.