When art and science meet at the end of a very long road: June 2022.
The artist: Chantal Harvey
The scientists: François Lutzoni and Jola Miadlikowska
The end of the road: Baie-Johan-Beetz, Québec, Canada
The shared inspiration: LICHENS
Chantal Harvey is an artist in Québec, Canada, who is inspired by nature (https://www.chantalharvey.com/). She was a recipient of a major award for her work on lichens. When François heard about this art exhibit, he contacted Chantal to introduce himself. This is when he learned that Chantal wanted to continue the project on lichens, but using new techniques and with a better knowledge and understanding of lichens. They met via zoom and she decided to write a grant proposal based on the collaboration they initiated. Chantal was awarded this grant and this is why we decided to visit Chantal at her studio. We brought with us a dissecting microscope for Chantal to discover the intricate beauty of lichens that is not visible to the naked eye.
Chantal lives in Baie-Johan-Beetz, a small, charming village located nearly at the very end of route 138 along the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River, almost 1,600 miles from Durham (NC), 27 hours away by road. In June 2022, François and Jola visited Chantal with their 20-year old Subaru Forester and spent three days with her and her family. Her studio is attached to her home, and the coastal taïga surrounding her home is covered with lichens, revealing the source of her inspiration. Her house is built directly on precambrian rock (Canadian Shield) immediately bordering the river, which opens into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence at this latitude.
We took several hikes with her (and her dog Zorba) and collected lichens together. Back in her studio, we looked at lichens under the dissecting microscope which opened a new world to Chantal. Meeting Chantal (and her family) in person and admiring lichens together was an unforgettable experience. We hope her next artwork installation on lichen symbiosis and their hidden beauty will be displayed in the Nasher Museum.