Verse by the Side of the Road | 2017
Verse by the Side of the Road is composed of several artworks that are located on and in proximity to Autoroute 20. Each artwork consists of a series of signs that are sequenced to communicate a verse. The verses appear in Abenaki, French and English.
This work references historic advertising signs that were placed along highways in both the United States and Canada by the Burma-Shave Company from the late 1920s to the 1960s. For Verse by the Side of the Road the artist has written three verses that capture the spirit and apply the rhetorical approach of the initial signs. The verses question the idea of the area between Montreal and Quebec City as “empty space.” By using languages that are of historic significance in this region, they are also intended to speak to cultural and political issues. Significantly, this “space” is the historic territory of the Abenaki First Nation.
Gisele Amantea’s work is best known for its interdisciplinary focus and innovative use of a variety of materials, formats and processes, to explore questions related to gender, class, nostalgia, history, memory and the relationship of private and public space.
The artist acknowledges Monique Nolett-Ille, who translated the verses into Abenaki, Mathieu O’Bomsawin, General Manager of the Musée des Abénakis, for support and collaboration, and the Conseil des Arts et des lettres du Québec.