Our Breath Beyond


Notre souffle par-delà (Our Breath Beyond)
The Society of Affective Archives (Fiona Annis & Véronique La Perrière M)
Inauguration: October 2023
Bronze sculptures (lost wax technique) with the cast hands of a dozen nurses, landscaping
Collection of the Bureau d’art public de la Ville de Montréal – a tribute to the profession of nursing for the plaza Jeanne Mance, Montréal
Photographic documentation by the Society of Affective Archives

Notre souffle par-delà (Our Breath Beyond) is a series of three bronze sculptures, each reflecting a different theme: hospitality, transmission and care. Both poetic and conceptual, the work is a tribute to the history and practice of nursing. A fundamental profession, whose contribution is sometimes undervalued, which intimately accompanies the care of body and spirit from the beginning to the end of life. Inevitably linked to women’s history, this profession that ensures the well-being of individuals and communities is brought to light and celebrated.

Hands and fabric are central forms in the vocabulary of the work, evoking with strength and tenderness, gestures of care and the social fabric – supported by these same hands. The organic, undulating fabric forms express the social ties that connect us, protect us and weave the social web. Suggesting movements gently engendered by the wind, the fabric breathes to the rhythm of an imaginary breath, this collective breath of life that animates us, unites us and transcends us, beyond time and epochs. The hands featured in the work were molded from caregivers and thus incorporate a collective and community dimension, echoing this profession that is receptive to others. Produced in parallel with the key phases of the creation of the work, a short film bears witness to the project and gives voice to a group of nurses from all walks of life.

Read about the project in the Montreal Gazette

Project Partners

L’Atelier du Bronze d’Inverness, Maxime Pelletier-Huot (film director), Jennifer Wade (mold-making specialist), St-Mary’s Hospital Foundation, Cité des Hospitalières, Marc Dulude (3D printing), 33Degrés (virtual images), Kamishkak’Arts, Uashassihtsh community site, Kahnawà:ke Welcome Center, Kahnawà:ke Marina

Acknowledgments

A very special thanks to the project initiators: Catherine McIninch Murphy, Maureen Fitzgerald, Brenda Noonan Brown, and Judith Tisseur Norton; and in extension, to all the donors who brought this project into being.

The artwork participates in the re-vitalisation of avenue des Pins, between rue Saint-Denis and avenue du Parc. Our thanks to the Ville de Montréal’s landscaping team, in particular Minh Tuan Khai Le and Emmanuel Le Colletter, as well as Peter Soland, Giang Tran and the Civiliti team. Our warmest thanks are also extended to Sara Savignac Rousseau of the City of Montreal’s Bureau d’art public.

Nurse participants

Guylaine Bachand 
Brenda Noonan Brown
Bibiane Courtois
Yannick De Serre
Maureen Fitzgerald
Soeur Marie-Thérèse Laliberté
Christine Wahiaronkwas Jacobs
Régine Laurent
Xuan Kim Le
Catherine McIninch Murphy
Michelle Myrthil 
Judith Tisseur Norton

Niá:wen ~ Tshinishkumitin ~ Merci ~ Thank-you