Gilles Arseneault

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Gilles Arseneault is an Acadian Canadian born 1995 in Dalhousie, New Brunswick. In 1991 , Gilles founded the first Environment Committee in the Canadian building trades and served on the Waste Caucus of the Ontario Environment Network. In 1995, Gilles suffered a severe head injury. He was paralyzed down the left side of his body and lost his ability to read, write, and function as a carpenter and union leader. He had been left handed. He learned to use his right hand. His artistic and activist concerns merged in 1998 with an exhibition of his work with Mayworks Festival of Labour Arts. He exhibited at the City of Toronto Outdoor Art Show and the Yorkville Public Library. In 2010, OPSEU chose Gilles' art to promote an event of their workers within the developmentally disabled community. Gilles was an artist before his injuries and continues to paint today. He describes his pre-injury self as pessimistic and grumpy. In contrast, his post accident personality is optimistic and happy. The life-changing realities that followed his injury allow him to be at peace and appreciate every day. He sums up his point of view in his oft-repeated mantra: Lovely (Jolie).