Former politician Karine Vallières reveals herself in another light

“Even if it’s difficult, I am determined to continue wanting to do something,” says Karine Vallières.

A new artist, from May 18 to 20, she presented her first exhibition at the Salon Empreinte d’Art at the Perkins gallery on the site of the historic Saint Andrew’s Church in Melbourne. “It’s a bit of revealing yourself,” says the woman who was used to speaking in front of her community.

“I’m really super embarrassed,” she admits. I dared to come out of my basement where I have been creating for several years.”

Painting, drawing, pottery and sewing are now part of her daily life. The “first loves” that the bachelor in communications, arts and letters rediscovers. This time, with a vulnerability that she exposes in broad daylight.

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Karine Vallières exhibited for the first time at the Perkins gallery during the Patriots Day long weekend. (Delphine Belzile)

“I create because it makes me feel good, and that’s why for me it’s awkward and intimidating to be here and show it.”

— Karine Vallières

For three years, Karine Vallières has no longer been able to work due to her illness which causes her chronic pain. So much so that she was unable to complete her day at the gallery last Saturday, she says with a lot of emotion.

“It’s the mourning of the professional side that often defines us. And now I have to define myself differently. It’s about accepting the new rhythm that the body imposes on me,” she confides, at the foot of the presbytery.

“It’s a journey,” adds Karine Vallières, who nevertheless says she is well surrounded by her family and her community.

Because this disease sporadically causes inflammation in his spine and pain flows into his joints. “It was as if I was no longer useful to society, I found it very difficult,” she says.

“Illness is a mourning of who I was. And I must tame who I am becoming.”

— Karine Vallières

Art became an outlet, a way to reconnect with your community and accept your new reality, she says. “Through the illness which is debilitating, it also allows me to produce something. I start a project and finish it. For that, it’s very satisfying.”

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Art became Karine Vallières’ refuge after the diagnosis of her illness. She also made a work of it that bears this title. (Delphine Belzile)

When she left politics at 44, Karine Vallières did not think she would have to end her career so soon. She had also joined public relations at the Alliance Magnésium company before receiving her diagnosis.

“I was already suffering a lot when I worked as a politician. I was in a lot of pain,” underlines the former MP who was unaware of her condition at the time.

Enjoy creating

Obviously, Karine Vallières works a lot on the square. Her canvases are covered with the geometric shape that she used to scribble in the margins of her notebooks.

“It’s pragmatic, it’s solid, it’s stable,” she explains. But in reality, in politics I have always said it, you have to know how to think outside the box. You have to be able to go outside of that. Even if there is a framework, that doesn’t mean it’s not flexible.”

>>>The works of Karine Vallières>>>

“Perhaps this is what will help me to redefine myself too, by providing something that people like to see,” emphasizes Karine Vallières. (Delphine Belzile)

His dive into the world of the arts initially came from an interest in upcycling furniture, one of his hobbies during the pandemic.

Her works arise essentially from her emotions and a letting go, she says. A rather instinctive creative process. “I just have the pleasure of creation,” emphasizes the artist.

But the last paintings she painted tell the story of Alzheimer’s, her mother who has it and for whom she is a close caregiver.

“My goal is not monetary, it is not mercantile, it is an exchange. It’s a pretext to see people, feel better, accept the illness more, get out of the house and present myself differently.”

— Karine Vallières

When Karine Vallières gave an interview to The gallery regarding her departure into politics, she said she wanted to leave the industry in particular to enjoy time with her two teenage daughters. A decision without regrets, she says with hindsight. “These are totally magical moments […] I was able to recreate a close bond with them and that’s worth gold.”

Karine Vallières will present her works at Sculpture des sources during the National Day. She will also be in Bromptonville in July and in Danville on Labor Day for the Arts Symposium.

Otherwise, she continues to be involved in her community and in the non-profit organization La Source d’Arts in Val-des-Sources. “It allows me to find a little sense of belonging to a group, instead of being alone at home.”

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