Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba

Including artists and audiences with disabilities into all facets of the arts community.

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May 7, 2021

Overdressed Poster PDF

Poster for Overdressed exhibition. Poster is a photograph of Marie LeBlanc wearing a fancy blue dress and a heavy duty facemark. Marie is a white woman with mid length, straight blond hair.  In the photo grant two images of Marie can be seen superimposed upon the other. Make is walking through a plastic barrier with a notice for mold. In the lower half of the poster there is a grey blue box with white text. the text reads: AANM Presents: Overdressed by Marie LeBlanc. Overdressed will explore LeBlanc's nomadic lifestyle, a result of living with Environmental Sensitivities which prevents her from living indoors. LeBlanc states "In survival mode 24/7, I go to great lengths to meet my basic needs such as accessing water. These seemingly simple tasks are, in actuality, special events. To mark the occasion, I wear the most precious piece of clothing I own" To view the exhibition visit  after My 7, 2021

AANM is proud to present “Overdressed” by Marie LeBlanc. LeBlanc’s exhibition will coincide with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) Awareness  month (May). LeBlanc lives with MCS which has resulted in her living and traveling out of her van. This exhibition explores the nomadic life that LeBlanc lives, travelling south in the winter and back to Canada during the warmer months

The exhibition will be fully available on AANM’s website ( under “online exhibitions” after May 7th 2021. Images of the exhibition will also be released in batches beginning May 1, 2021 until May 12, 2021 on the Facebook event page:


Artist Statement:

I live with Environmental Illness: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity and Toxic Mold Exposure. In those afflicted, these conditions cause adverse reactions to scents, chemicals, building supplies, mold, wifi, electrical devices and so on. For some, the limited access to safe housing, food, public spaces, transportation and medical specialists can result in debilitating symptoms affecting multiple organ systems and lead to a life of isolation. For me, indoor housing has become intolerable.

I have thus taken to living a nomadic lifestyle by following the warm weather patterns that enable me to be outdoors. In the winter months, I migrate to the desert in a cargo van adapted for safe housing to ease the symptoms. The life I live is similar to living in quarantine and I think a lot about Maslow’s Theory of Human Motivation. His Hierarchy of Needs implies that we must satisfy the needs of one stage before feeling motivated to arise to the next.

In survival mode 24/7, I go to great lengths to meet my basic needs. Accessing water, cooking, cleaning and personal care require careful planning. These seemingly simple tasks (turned all-day productions) are, in actuality, special events. To mark the occasion, I wear the most precious piece of clothing I own : a blue evening gown, and workboots to accessorize. Exhausted, I’m then challenged with finding a comfortable place to rest. As I travel my boots become worn and the blue dress becomes increasingly dirtier. Amidst the hard work and difficulties, there are, nonetheless, moments when I feel I have attained freedom, esteem and belonging. Overdressed is a 2 year photo-documentation project to depict the journey I have undertaken towards self-actualization.

Artist Bio:

Marie LeBlanc is a self-taught multidisciplinary artist. Through photography, multimedia projection, short film, performance and wordsmithing she explores themes related to landscape, isolation, beauty, health and nature. Capturing faces, shapes, shadows and reflections with digital and on-camera effects, often superimposing her own reflection, she seeks to embrace the present moment and the ethereal world around her.

Originally from Northern Manitoba, she lived in Winnipeg before recently relocating to Alberta. In the winter months, she travels to the U.S. desert in a cargo van adapted for safe housing to ease the symptoms of Environmental Illness (referred to as Environmental Sensitivities in Canada). Because the illness remains an unrecognizable and misunderstood diagnosis, her work intends to self-advocate and bring awareness to the related struggles faced by so many. LeBlanc’s most important awareness project to date, WHO says we need fresh air?! has travelled throughout Manitoba, to Edmonton, Jasper and Arizona. Quotes from individuals across the globe afflicted by Environmental Illness are projected onto buildings, structures, billboards, screens and monitors.

LeBlanc holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Geography and Sociology from the University of Manitoba. She has participated in the Making Our Mark II Printmaking Mentorship Program at Martha Street Studio, the Artist In Residency Program at Artbeat Studio and the Art Salon Program at Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba (AANM). Her story and artwork have been featured in interviews and articles throughout Western Canada, in Quartzsite (Arizona) and with MCS Aware (UK). She was recently awarded Microgrants from Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art and AANM for the completion of Overdressed.


May 7, 2021
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