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Healing: the sanatorium experience Alcôve-école

March 24, 2022 to January 8, 2023

The Alcôve-école, a partnership between the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and Université Laval.

In the wake of the success of Pouvoir(s), the first exhibition of the Alcôve-école, the MNBAQ wanted to echo the COVID-19 pandemic and, more specifically, all the patients who are in isolation, by proposing a new exhibition on the experiences in Québec sanitoria, since the tragic dimension of tuberculosis has served as a source of inspiration for many artists.

It should be recalled that in the early 20th century, pulmonary tuberculosis was one of the leading causes of death in Québec. Given the medical establishment’s powerlessness faced with the disease’s ravages, sanitoria became the solution. These vast treatment centres usually situated in the countryside educated and isolated patients to prevent the contagion. By offering the patients personal health practices hinging on rest and the open air, it was hoped that the body would develop resistance against the infection.

A sanitorium is a microsociety. Sick people are far removed from what they hold dear, sometimes for years, and are stigmatized by popular fear and uncertain of recovery. They build a separate world.

At the heart of the 350 Years of Artistic Practices in Québec exhibition in the Ressentir room, the Alcôve-école is a unique creative forum for up-and-coming museologists, a venue for exploration dedicated to the students of Université Laval.