Guy Laliberté’s GAIA Exhibition Opens in Quebec City

Guy Laliberté’s GAIA Exhibition Opens in Quebec City

by Farnell Morisset

If life is some kind of cosmic game, one could argue Guy Laliberté won it a long time ago.  Born in Québec City in 1959, he started his career as an accordion player busking for change on the streets of the city.  Now he’s the 374th richest man alive.  Along the way, he obtained an honoris causa doctorate, joined the Order of Canada, got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, raked in over 700,000$ in professional poker wins,  and possibly redefined the legal meaning of “marriage” in the province of Québec.

Oh, and he’s touched the sky… for charity.  Because, apparently, a billion people without access to clean water is not something that jives with Laliberté.  Apparently, to a clown who turned a speechless, starless, animal-less circus into a multi-billion-dollar business, “impossible” is just an opening act… and he’s not done.

Turns out while he was up on the International Space Station in September 2009, he was busy taking pictures, and many of them are frankly breathtaking.  Never wasting an opportunity to be awesome, this afternoon he and his team (aided by the Fondation Desjardins) unveiled GAIA, a touring public photography exhibition, for its leg here in Québec City from June 7th to July 7th.  The exhibit is completely free and can be seen by anyone walking through the Parc de l’Amérique Française, right next to the Grand Théatre de Québec.

About why the stop in Québec City, in between Montréal and Toronto, Laliberté says, “Well, Québec is my native city, this is where I was born, and this is where Cirque du Soleil was born also, so there’s definitely an emotional attachment to this city.  Plus, this is a major city of Québec, and we’re the beginning of summer so there will be a lot of international tourists coming here, and it’s a great park to make this exposition.  This is part of our plan to bring this exposition around the world – a little bit like our show, we do Montréal, Québec, and then we go for the rest of the world.”

Laliberté also explains how while One Drop has a lot of projects, “this type of exposition – it’s timeless, it could live in time, the book could live in time.”  True to business sense, GAIA also offers books, prints, posters, and all sorts of gear for sale (available during opening hours in the Grand Théatre art gallery), all profits of which go directly to the One Drop foundation.

Anyone in the area who doesn’t take a half hour to walk around the park and see the images over the next month is missing out terribly… as is anyone who doesn’t make the detour out of their way.  The exhibition runs until July 7th.

Listen to the full interview hereDonate to One Drop here.


About the author:

Born and raised in Québec City, Farnell Morisset attended English school throughout his primary, secondary, and CEGEP studies, before ultimately choosing to stay in Québec City and study civil engineering at Laval University.

While at Laval, he served as president of the civil engineering student association. It was there that he discovered his affinity for writing and commentary, preparing a weekly column in the student newspaper dealing with the issues he, as president of the association, felt were important and relevant.

Farnell is passionate about discussing (amongst other things) the issues of modern social identity for many Québecois who, like him, feel deeply connected to the Québecois nation and culture yet do not identify with the traditional francophone non-practicing Catholic nationalist image.

He is also alarmed by what seems to be an invasive and aggressive polarization of complex social issues for which there are no black-and-white answers. This eventual identity crisis, he feels, will only be solved through good faith in, and honest communication with, all sides pulling on our ever dwindling “pure laine” blanket.

It is with this in mind that he contributes to as a valued member of our, in-house, writing team.

Categories: News

About Author

Farnell Morisset

Farnell Morisset has an engineering degree from Université Laval and common law and civil law degrees from McGill University, where he also studied economics.