Kourtney Roy — The Other End of the Rainbow



Kourtney Roy
The Other End of the Rainbow

Ends in 19 days: January 7 → February 24, 2023

The gallery is pleased to announce “The Other End of the Rainbow”, a solo exhibition by Canadian artist Kourtney Roy. The photographer, known for the creativity of her fictional worlds, addresses a serious subject with this work: for over forty years, along Highway 16, a road in northern British Columbia, women and girls, mostly of First Nations descent, have been disappearing. From October 2017 to September 2019, Roy visited the region five times and traveled anonymously along this 720 km long stretch known as the “Highway of Tears”.

“During my travels, I have met and exchanged with many admirable people directly affected by the violence of this road. Despite the tragedies they had to endure, they allowed me to enter their lives with confidence and sincerity, willing to share their stories with me. I spent considerable time with them, without necessarily taking pictures, sharing their daily activities and adventures. Their stories helped me to better understand the obstacles they had to overcome in their lives. Their knowledge of the great forests, roads, and infrastructure of the region was essential for me to find and take pictures of places related to tragedies that the ordinary traveler is not aware of.

I was intrigued by how the architecture of this particular road was influenced by its dark history and chronic violence. How do you make sense of a seemingly insignificant local? How can the mundane architecture that lines this road and the anonymous people who walk along it connect to create an atmosphere that is both ordinary and sinister. In a region still struggling with a dark colonial past, the national highway system has promoted decentralization, brought functionality and speed, anonymity, isolation, poverty and violence.

The banality of the places I photographed suggests the presence of sinister events as much as it hides it. Their earthiness is magnified by the dark past of this highway, adding a note of dread to these supposedly neutral landscapes. I wanted to offer a composite image of a complex but extraordinary place. The genius loci, or “genius of place,” to put it simply, is that quality or “spirit” that gives meaning to a particular place — a town, a clearing, a region or a road. In this sense, Highway 16 does not simply lead to a destination; it is a destination, imbued with a singular sense of history and presence through the repeated atrocities committed along its length." — Kourtney Roy

The exhibition presents an excerpt of this project, a story rooted in violence, misogyny and systemic racism. This document, as an artistic hybrid, is presented in its integrality in a book published by André Frère.

The exhibition The other end of the rainbow was presented at the 10th edition of the festival Portrait(s) in Vichy in 2022. A co-production with the gallery Les Filles du Calvaire.