“La Terre promise”
Painter: Dominique Beauregard
Photographer: Robin Simard
Detail: Acrylic on canvas; 48 “x 24”
Painting by Dominique Beauregard from the exhibition « Les Stations du curé Labelle »
In La Terre promise, the artist shows Curé Labelle in a setting that evokes Moses guiding his people to the Promised Land. She took inspiration from commentators of the day who likened Labelle to the biblical figure.
From the top of the Épouvante, Labelle, flanked by his guides, gazes out across the Promised Land as it stretches out of sight before him. Its rivers, lakes and rolling mountains appear to him like promises and hopes, nourishing his dream of a French reconquest of Canada. In 1870, the colonizing missionary led the first expeditions beyond Sainte-Agathe, into the country of the Repousse. The two peaks of the Épouvante and the Repousse stood like impregnable ramparts preventing the colonists from advancing. But that was without taking into account the uncompromising determination of Labelle, who was firmly resolved to push on. He wrote: “I was puffing and panting and covered in sweat. My travelling companion was distraught at the state I was in. He thought I was going to die and was set on turning back. I decided that we had to continue on to the end, stand atop the Épouvante or die trying. I managed to reach my intended goal and was rewarded with the sight of the Rivière du Diable, the Trembling Mountain and ranges of mountains running far off, to the north and the south.”