Cross-Cultural Creation Residency 2020


Canada Games Gallery | November 5 – December 17, 2021

Artists’ Statement

We acknowledge that New Brunswick is situated on unsurrendered and unceded traditional territory of the Wolastoqiyik, Mi’kmaq and Passamaquoddy, the original keepers of this land. The Peace and Friendship Treaties signed in 1725 and 1726 were not to surrender the lands and resources but to establish rules for ongoing relationship between the Crown and the Wabanaki. Learning about the histories of Indigenous people and acknowledging the effects of colonization is imperative to achieving Truth and Reconciliation.

Turbulence; is the work of the three artists in residence, David Champagne, Francine Francis, and Dan Smeby. The Cross-Cultural Creation Residency organized by the Acadian Association of Professional Artists of New Brunswick (AAAPNB) and Artslink New Brunswick. The residency took place over a two week period in the city now known as Saint John, New Brunswick in July 2020, after being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The three artists from the Mi’kmaq, Francophone, and Anglophone communities wish to acknowledge the exchange whereby we were able to work together at the Saint John Arts Center. Three approaches, three visions and three universes come together and unite in one exhibition Turbulence

During her two-week residency, Francine Francis developed her project based on the art from of Indigenous beading. She spent her days beading, various small circular formations of spirit lights, intending to exchange with members of the public.

The Cross Cultural Residency gave filmmaker, Dan Smeby, the opportunity to experiment with both aesthetic and content in his short film “You’re Not Going To Die In There”. This film was an excellent opportunity to dovetail the gritty black and white Super 8mm aesthetic with the critical and urgent content of mental health. The soundtrack mixes composition with soundscapes taken during the resdiency, ending with a powerful and poignant message, urgently and desperately needed about hope and suicide.

David Champagne walked the streets of downtown taking many different photographs (portraits, architecture, details). He then constructed new images (photomontage) from several different photographs. In this project, he attempts to stage the atmosphere of the residency during the summer of 2020, shortly after the lockdown. He attempts to merge opposing aesthetics within the same image by trying to make beautiful what is usually considered ugly. His goal is to create decayed landscapes and scenes that are inviting and comfortable.

Although the aforementioned residents worked separately, one can nevertheless find commonalities in their work. All three artists have constructed work with many different parts working together as a whole. We can observe assembly, montage, and mosaic. It is thus within the same space that the three artists present the exhibition Turbulence.

Cross-Cultural Creation Residency – From ArtsLinkNB

A francophone artist

An anglophone artist

An indigenous artist

The Association acadienne des artistes professionnel.le.s du Nouveau-Brunswick (AAAPNB), ArtsLink NB and Mawi’Art: Wabanaki Artist Collective, join forces again for the second Cross-cultural creation residency. A community residency between an Acadian artist, an anglophone artist, and an indigenous artist in New Brunswick.

This year’s program is slightly altered due to the pandemic, and will comprise of a two week-long residency at the Saint John Arts Centre. Through this residency, artists will have the opportunity to create new work while immersing themselves in the artistic process of fellow artists.

The experience of being in another community and creating with people of different artistic backgrounds allows one to go beyond language barriers and discover different cultural environments. Recognizing current debates surrounding cultural and language tensions in New Brunswick, this initiative demonstrates that it is possible to grow by combining strengths rather than advocating division. Art in itself is a means of expression and cohesion and makes it possible to break down the boundaries that all too often isolate us.

Meet the artists: 

Francine Francis is a Mi’kmaq visual artist from Metepenagiag First Nation, New Brunswick.  Influenced by the land, the wild animals and pride in her Mi’kmaq culture, she continues to integrate the double-curve, porcupine quill design motifs along with Mi’kmaq language, petroglyphs and hieroglyphs in her work. Her work is in permanent collections at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, The New Brunswick Art Bank, Fredericton, New Brunswick  Museum in Saint John, NB., The Province of Saskatchewan, Regina, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, Amherst, Nova Scotia, The Toronto Dominion Bank in Fredericton, The Metepenagiag Heritage Park and the New Brunswick Community College in Miramichi.


Dan Smeby is a celluloid based filmmaker and visual artist from Newcastle, New Brunswick. Graduating from Concordia University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Smeby has most recently held residencies at Nyege Nyege in Kampala, Uganda and Juke Studios in Kuwait City, Kuwait completing several collaborative film projects.

Dan is thrilled to now take part in his first residency project in his home province alongside Francophone and Mi’kmaq artists as part of the Cross-cultural residency at the Saint John Arts Centre. During the residency he will bend the confines of the conventional, with a time based mixed media installation.

Smeby will develop by hand 16mm black and white film via organic processing techniques, planning to adhere the physical film to plexiglass. Smart LED lights will be mounted to the other side of the plexiglass offering a plethora of adjustable color schemes, programmed to sync with a local sound composition.


David Champagne is a photographer who lives and works in Maisonnette (NB), Canada. Working mostly in the field of documentary photography, he is fascinated by the human being, his behaviors and his lifestyles. He uses photography in a sociological way, as testimony of a contemporary time. His work explores notions of territory and how man alters and modifies its immediate environment. He also works with photomontage, where he diverts and transforms photographs from his documentaries, to deliver images with surreal, humourous and whistleblower content.

Over the years he has collaborated with several magazines and newspapers, and also NGOs, as many locals as internationals. In 2013, he published “L’ostie de printemps”, the first self-published photographic essay on the social crisis that marked Quebec’s province in spring 2012. In 2015, he obtained a grant from the Quebec Arts Council and the TV5 Fund, with which it has co-directed the documentary web series Seasonal Life. In 2018, he received his first grant from the New Brunswick Arts Board as well as from the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture.