"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Opening of Two Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Art Exhibitions

Great Village and In the Village Opening on July 5th 2011
Exhibitions are open week days until August 17 at McCarthy Hall, Nova Scotia Community College, Arthur St., Truro, and at the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Arts Festival, August 18, 20, and 21, Great Village Legion
Sponsored by the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia and the Truro Arts Society

Exhibition Coordinator Bruce Gray (right) introduces EBSNS President John Barnstead

On the evening of Tuesday, 5 July, 2011, two art exhibitions opened in Truro. The exhibitions honour the Nova Scotia roots of Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Elizabeth Bishop. The exhibitions are part of a year long Centenary Celebration of her birth and the exhibitions will also be moved to Great Village for the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Arts Festival August 19, 20 and 21.

Bruce Gray, the Exhibition Coordinator, welcomed the crowd and introduced Sandra Barry, Nova Scotia’s own Elizabeth Bishop scholar. Sandra captivated the audience with stories about Elizabeth Bishop’s own experiences as a visual artist and as an artist with words. Reading from Bishop’s poem, entitled “Poem,” Barry brought the relevance of Bishops writing full circle and the audience was very interested that the words of an author long dead are still shaping our world.

Bishop scholar Sandra Barry addresses the audience at the exhibition opening.

One of the exhibitions, “In the Village,” asked Maritime Artists to listen to the 55 minute reading of Bishops In the Village at www.elizabethbishop.org. Then artists were challenged to create their own visual works that reflected their own lives. Among the works, Truro photographer, Laurie Gunn did a photo collage called “My Golden Childhood” and Halifax artist Taiya Barss did a painting of a childhood door with childlike drawings scratched into the surface. Shapes of people and events were slowly evident upon close inspection. In this exhibition there was a synergistic energy between the works, because they all delved into personal stories.

Truro Arts Society members Margaret Boyle and Beth McDade view Joy Laking's acrylic self-portrait "In the Marsh" and Laurie Gunn's photo-collage "My Golden Childhood."

The second exhibition , Great Village, was visual works that reflect the village and its location on the shore of the Bay of Fundy. Four weeks ago, artists from around the Maritimes were hosted in Great Village for a weekend of paintings. Many of the works started on this weekend were in the exhibition. Halifax Artists, Susan Tooke and Richard Rudinicki and Portaupique artist, Joy Laking and others all did paintings of the red mud that seems to stretch outward to the horizon at “Low Tide.” Several artists actually captured the house in Great Village where Elizabeth Bishop lived. Two interesting watercolours were done by Ruth Peppard who herself was raised in Great Village like Bishop.

The president of the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia, John Barnstead, toured the audience around the exhibitions and spoke on behalf of the Society. He closed the evening with a reading from Bishop’s poem “The Moose.”

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