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Government of New Brunswick

2023 Jeux de la Francophonie

New Brunswick artists Guillaume Lépine from Taylor Village (Painting) and Pierre-André Doucet from Moncton (Literature) recently competed as part of Team Canada-NB at the 9th Games of la Francophonie in Kinshasa.

Hosted by the Democratic Republic of Congo, the 9th edition took place from July 28 to August 6, 2023.

Every 4 years, the Games bring together over 3,000 young people, artists and athletes from the 88 states and governments of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

The only major international sporting and cultural event in the French language dedicated to young people, the Games provides emerging artists a unique opportunity to compete, create and present art on an international stage.

“We were proud to represent NB in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo),” says Jason Arsenault, Chef de Mission with Team Canada-NB. “The people of Kinshasa were very welcoming.”

Although they encountered a few logistical challenges in the first few days of the event, Arsenault remarked that the artists were able to adjust and take full advantage of their workshops. “Our artists had a wealth of international experience before coming to the DRC, and they represented the province very well,” says Arsenault.

Pierre-André Doucet, who competed in Literature was very happy to discover the voices of other writers from La Francophonie during the public readings of the competition. “I was very proud to present my short story, one of the first works with LGBTQ+ themes in the history of the Games of La Francophonie, if not the very first,” says Doucet.

“I really enjoyed taking part in the IX Games of La Francophonie,” says visual artist, Guillaume Lépine who competed in the painting discipline. “What I remember most were the encounters I had with other artists in my discipline, and the incredible team experience with my delegation (Canada-NB) and the Canadian delegation.”

“I noticed that the painting scene in Africa, specifically in Kinshasa, is booming,” says Lépine. “I have a feeling that we'll be seeing the emergence of several important artists from Africa in the next few years."

When asked to describe the highlights of the Games, Lépine points out how rich the human experience was for him.

“I really appreciated the discussions that took place in the studio during the competition with the other artists, and the solidarity between the artists in the face of the logistical difficulties we encountered during the Games,” says Lépine. “I got the impression that the artists present were there to exchange and learn from each other, and not just for competitive purposes. There was a good atmosphere in the workshop.”

Arsenault also agreed with the camaraderie between all the artists which helped to create a warm atmosphere for cultural and artistic exchange.

“The parade of athletes and artists during the opening ceremony was a completely surreal moment,” says Doucet. “Entering the national stadium and carrying my province's flag, I was overcome by a wave of emotion.”

Arsenault agrees, “Entering the jam-packed Martyrs Stadium in front of over 80,000 people for the Parade of Nations at the Opening Ceremony will undoubtedly remain one of the most memorable moments of these Games.”

“Our artists are excellent ambassadors for the province,” says Arsenault.

Learn more about the Games of La Francophonie: (in French only)

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