Painter: Dominique Beauregard
Photographer: Robin Simard
Detail: Acrylic on canvas; 36″ x 48″
Painting by Dominique Beauregard from the exhibition « Les Stations du curé Labelle »
Pater Meus Agricola is the painting in the series Les Stations du curé Labelle that contains the most symbols. The picture can be deciphered like a Tarot of Marseille card. The priest stands in front of his small church in Saint-Jérôme. The banner overhead bears the motto Labelle chose when he was ordained: Pater Meus Agricola (My Father, the Farmer). Of course, Labelle wasn’t referring to his own father, who was a shoemaker. He was alluding instead to his dedication to the conquest of the Northern Townships and his passion for the development of agriculture. That is why he is shown standing humbly beside a sheaf of wheat along with some fruit and vegetables harvested from Mother Earth. The Pandora’s box with the scorpion climbing out symbolizes the poisoned gift that was his appointment. The lamb with the cross is taken from the coat of arms of Monseigneur Fabre and personifies the archbishop who blocked Labelle’s plans for a diocese. The maple and the oak represent, respectively, Premier Honoré Mercier and Labelle. The violet is a symbol of modesty and humility and it is the colour of mourning. Finally, the snakes evoke jealousy, behind-the-scenes machinations, mudslinging, and slander.