Hacala in Canada
In Fall 2010 in Quebec, Michel Hacala created seven large paintings of Basque fishermen chasing whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the late 1500s. Why would he want to paint dreamy historical images from such an early era of Canada? You could say that he was following his ancestors and the contact they had with Canada’s whales and aboriginal peoples.
Whales (right and bowhead) were once plentiful in the coastal Labrador waters and the Gulf of St. Lawrence estuary, and they attracted whalers from the Basque country during the 16th century. A thriving industry developed around whale oil, a highly prized commodity in Europe. Every spring until about 1626, Basque fishermen sailed to their North American whaling stations, where they built stone ovens to prepare whale oil. Such ovens can be found on the Ile aux Basques (island of the Basques) that faces Trois-Pistoles, Quebec, as well as a number of other artifacts.
An international exhibit of Hacala’s historic Canadian whaling series is being planned by the Basque Museum of Bayonne (France) and the new Cité de l’Océan (opening in Biarritz, France, in 2011). Exhibition partners are being sought in Canada, Spain, and North American locales where Basque people have settled over the centuries. Evelyne Dufau is Michel Hacala’s agent in North America for subsequent contact.
How to best view the art work:
Click on any of the vignettes below to view a large picture size of artwork. Move your cursor anywhere over the picture and the button NEXT appears for you to click on and view all of the artwork in the photo album in slideshow mode. Michel’s paintings are of large formats: 200cmx130cm. Enjoy!