For this month, Winnipeg River Arts Council revisits previously featured visual artist Roberta Laliberte, who grew up Pine Falls and still lives there.
When she was young, Laliberte learned by copying. In a small community, before the internet, it was all she had. She said, “I thought my art had to look super realistic. Later on, I wanted to show viewers how I saw the world, and not replicate it perfectly.”
She began studying artists online, learning techniques and finding new mediums to interpret in her own way. In 1993, she attended fine arts at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, but did not complete a degree. She said, “At the time, I didn’t see the value. Now I see it.”
Recently, she has developed her application process, influenced by every-day experiences. She prefers paper as a surface but likes mixed media, adding more of them to her repertoire, such as chalk pastels and different charcoals. Also, texture, shape and colour inspire her.
She said, “I now lean towards semi-abstract or abstract landscapes and still life, with loose, spontaneous passages and thick impasto sections.”
Laliberte instructs artist in schools, private classes, and online groups with students from all over the world. She helps teachers with professional development and has earned a Community Collaborative Arts Coordinator Certificate, awarded by Creative Manitoba, a Winnipeg organization dedicated to professional artists’ development. She spent a week at the Lincoln Center in New York, taking their International Educator Workshop, which uses inquiry-based approaches to learning.
She encourages students to explore and learn, just as children do. She said, “We decide at some point what we are good at and leave it at that. People tell me I’m talented. I have some skills but the one that serves me best is my tenacity.”
She has produced public art installations such as the one commissioned by a jury from Heritage Canada/La Maison Des Artistes for Library Allard in St. Georges, and created videos, such as the ones with Canada’s first Youth Walking Theatre Company. Her work has also been exhibited in shows throughout Manitoba. Supported by Manitoba Arts Council’s ArtsSmarts program, she has helped students create large installations. In 2000, Dateline Arts Magazine named her as one of their Artists of the Year.
Her favourite quote: “We were all born to create. What you make speaks to who you are and where you are in that moment, and it is good.”