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The year 2020 marked the beginning of a collaboration between the Education Department of the PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art and the Paul Gérin-Lajoie High School in Outremont in order to offer a long term arts project to recently immigrated young students in preparatory classes. This collaboration has taken the form of exhibition visits, virtual animations, as well as projects in theatre and French, where powerful works have been created by the students. Over the past two years, we have established a relationship of sharing culture, with the aim to diversify what an arts education can offer to young people learning the French language.

The Film

The film Pouvoir, directed by Paul Tom, is the result of a collaboration between the team at Paul-Gérin-Lajoie d’Outremont High School (PGLO)—Mélissa Lefebvre, drama teacher, Nathalie Vézina, French teacher for recently emigrated young students—and the PHI Foundation. 

At the heart of this project we find young learners in preparatory classrooms, with touching stories filled with exceptional emotional intelligence. The students reveal their superpowers, or rather those of their superhero alter egos. The film highlights the many inequalities they face and highlights the sensitivity and resilience of these agents of change.

The Film

The Exhibition

The exhibition Pouvoir took place at the PHI Foundation from March 16 to June 5, 2022. It featured the film Pouvoir and a series of posters illustrating the heroes and heroines imagined by the students of PGLO. This powerful and moving documentary film is directed by Paul Tom.

This exhibition was organized by the PHI Foundation's Adjunct Curator – Engagement, Daniel Fiset, in collaboration with Mélissa Lefebvre, Nathalie Vézina, and Paul Tom.


Photos by Natan B. Foisy

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Creative Booklets

In 2020, following a visit to the exhibition RELATIONS: Diaspora and Painting, the recently immigrated students in the classes of Nathalie Vézina, Maude Desjardins, and Jean-Louis Lefebvre participated in virtual animations with PHI Foundation educators Amanda Beattie, Tanha Gomes, and Marie-Hélène Lemaire. In 2021, a new cohort of students from Maude Desjardins and Nathalie Vézina's classes repeated the experience during the exhibitions Larry Achiampong: Relic Traveller and Jamilah Sabur's The Mountain Sings Underwater, with educators Kim Johnson and Marie-Hélène Lemaire. As part of these virtual animations, the students created several beautiful works of art. You can discover them in the creative booklets below.