--February 28, 2013.
There is still time to take in the current exhibition at the Uplands Cultural and Heritage Centre in Lennoxville. The title of the show is "Quelque Part sur la 20" (Somewhere on the 20). The exhibition features three contemporary Sherbrooke photographers -- Jean Beaudoin, Jean-François Dupuis and Clemz -- who together set out to "question our tendency to obliterate the past" and preserve a piece of our heritage through their art.
The heritage these photographers are attempting to explore through their photography is a landmark eatery (some would call it a "temple of kitsch") situated in Saint-Léonard-d’Aston, along Autoroute 20 between Quebec City and Montreal -- the Madrid Restaurant. The restaurant will be familiar to anyone who has ever driven by it: its large-as-life fake dinosaurs and monster trucks were absolutely impossible to miss. The establishment was demolished in the fall of 2011.
In their exhibition statement, the photographers declare that for some time the landmark had captured their attention whenever they drove by. "From a distance," they state, "we could see the impressive dinosaurs and monster trucks. Was the Madrid tacky, ugly or outdated? Perhaps, but despite this assumed ugliness, the Madrid had its place in our collective mind."
Beaudoin, Dupuis and Clemz pose an interesting question. "Must we, on behalf of modernization," they wonder, "destroy buildings, ways of living, or objects that belong to the past?"
The Madrid, they state, "provokes this question, because although it was weird in its display, it was popular and had personality. Over the years, its character managed to keep its status and maintain its reputation. Can we say the same thing of these new buildings whose architecture is based on general franchised styles? Is it on the altar of renewal that we sacrifice the personality or even the uniqueness of some things on behalf of progress." "Quelque Part sur la 20" (Somewhere on the 20) continues at Uplands until March 10.
Uplands' next exhibition will be a group event by special needs students, organized as part of the Semaine québécoise de la déficience intellectuelle (SQDI). That show will run from March 13 to March 24. A vernissage is scheduled for March 13.
This show will be followed by an exhibition of embroidery and pottery. Featuring Danielle Dion and Christiane Dion, it will run from March 29 to May 26. A vernissage is planned for April 7.
And finally, currently on view at Uplands, and organized by the Lennoxville-Ascot Historical and Museum Society (LAHMS), which occupies a part of the building, is an exhibition titled "Uplands: 150 Years in Lennoxville." That show will be on view until May.
Opening hours at Uplands (9 Speid Street in Lennoxville) are Wednesdays through Sundays from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Entrance to the exhibitions is free. Traditional English-style tea is served every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 1 to 4:30 p.m. The cost of the tea is $8.50 per person.
For more information on any of these or other upcoming activities, contact Uplands Cultural and Heritage Centre at (819) 564-0409.