AXENÉO7 celebrates its 40th anniversary


Maxime B. Huneault, AXENÉO[ ], 5/40, 2023.

AXENÉO7 artist-run centre is celebrating its 40th anniversary along with the artists, cultural workers and public who are its lifeblood. 

AXENÉO7 would like to thank its financial partners, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the City of Gatineau, without whom its activities would not be possible; its diffusion partners and friends, DAÏMÔN production center and La Filature inc.; and the political institutions that have supported its work over the years.


In 1982, artists from the Outaouais region inaugurated 7e Ouest, a printmaking studio on Montcalm Street in the former city of Hull (now Gatineau). A year later, driven by greater ambitions including the creation of a venue to present contemporary art, the studio became Axe Néo-7 centre d’art. The founding members, Claude-Philippe Benoît, Nicole Dumoulin, Diane Génier and France Trépanier, inaugurated the first exhibition in 1983, the same year the centre was incorporated as a charitable organization. In  a thoroughly conceptual spirit, the name Axe Néo-7 refers to its location: situated on the Montcalm road axis—Axe—, a contemporary art organization—Néo—registered in the 7th administrative region of Quebec—7—; while also being a nod to 7e ouest. In the early 2000s, the centre moved into La Filature inc., which it still occupies, along with  DAÏMÔN production centre and artists' studios. Through its architecture, its history and the people who frequent it, La Filature inc. endows the centre with a singular identity and unique character.


Forty years later—and countless ways to spell the center's name—we are proud to celebrate this space, its activity, but above all the artists who have contributed, both through the presentation of their work and their involvement, to the evolution and redefinition of contemporary art and the environments created by and for artists.


The fortieth anniversary program is divided into three evolving event categories, offering visibility and recognition to local artistic practices. AXENÉO7's main goal is to foster encounters between the arts, artists and the public in the Gatineau region, and to celebrate over forty years of cultural offer made possible by a major regional positioning.


First, AXENÉO7 is proposing a large-scale summer exhibition bringing together the intergenerational practices of artists from the Outaouais and Ottawa regions. Over the course of June and July 2023, the centre's exhibition and other spaces will be taken over by the works of some thirty visual, media and performance artists.


With the aim of multiplying opportunities for encounters, AXENÉO7 is revisiting one of the key events of the centre's thirtieth anniversary program (2013): the Salons. A veritable artistic banquet, the Salons bring guest artists together with the centre's community over dinner, for a participatory discussion on a specific subject. Four Salons will be presented in each season of the programming year.


Finally, the centre will present a series of Micro-concerts, conceived in a low-tech vein, and which offers an unprecedented and intimate communion between the audience and local artists, without a filter or artifice. As their name suggests, the Micro-concerts are one-off events that infiltrate the core program. From poetry readings to music and song, from dance to theatre, these Micro-concerts will energize and enliven the pre-programmed gatherings.


Forty years of activity is also a time to reflect on where we've been and where we're going in the years to come. One of AXENÉO7's priorities is to redefine the way it occupies the territory. The places where the centre's activities take place are located on unceded traditional territories of the Anishinabek Nation and the Kanien'kehá:ka peoples. AXENÉO7 is grateful for this space and is committed to respecting it, reflecting on more equitable and fair ways of living on it.


The centre's other priority is to develop its programming to offer alternative presentation and reflection modes, to make work processes more inclusive, and to thereby broaden opportunities for collaborative partnerships.


Finally, in the years ahead, AXENÉO7 hopes to multiply its collaborations with the Outaouais community. The centre is particularly proud of the strong interest the local community has shown in its activities. This enthusiasm underscores the vitality of local practices, and confirms the direction the centre is taking for this year and beyond. This enthusiasm is also prompting us to think about ways of increasing the visibility of the artists who support us—both through their presence and their work—in particular by advocating for artistic practices in the Outaouais to our funders.


With these concrete changes to its programming over the coming years, AXENÉO7 is positioning itself to ensure an environment that steadfastly upholds contemporary  practices that are ever more equitable, welcoming and caring.

Maxime B. Huneault, AXENÉO[ ], 2/40, 2023.