Two New Brunswickers Return Home to Turn a Spotlight on Forgotten Histories

Beaverbrook Art GalleryFebruary 16, 20180 Comments


Two New Brunswickers Return Home to
Turn a Spotlight on Forgotten Histories


Fredericton, New Brunswick, February 16, 2018 – Starting today, visitors to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery will have an opportunity to engage with a spotlight feature in its Orientation Gallery that draws attention to an often under-recognized history.

Presented in the context of Black History Month, Overlooked: Two New Brunswick artists and the Black experience brings two artworks into dialogue with each other, with visitors, and with the power and politics of art and social histories and those who are left out of them. The feature is organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery with contributions from the New Brunswick Black History Society’s Mary Louise McCarthy and Graham Nickerson.

On February 19, the Gallery will host a brief presentation by Nickerson and McCarthy at 4 pm as part of its Family Day programming. All are invited to attend to learn more about these artworks and their context and history. 

In the Orientation Gallery, visitors will find River Scene (1885) by Edward Bannister (1828-1901), on loan from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Bannister was born and raised in St. Andrews, NB. He would, over time, move to New England and become an important figure in the visual arts in Rhode Island. Nevertheless, Bannister was still subject to the racism of the day, both in life and after, where we would fade from art history for nearly a century.

“The bucolic and serene subject of this painting,” writes Graham Nickerson, “belies the provocative fact that the artist was a Black man living at a time when many Whites believed that Blacks were not capable of higher thinking. Although he was one of the first African-American artists to receive serious renown in the United States, Edward Bannister's life was still dogged by racism.”

Also on view, Molly Lamb Bobak’s Private Roy, Canadian Women’s Army Corps (1946) is on loan from the Canadian War Museum’s Beaverbrook Collection of War Art. It shows the subject tending bar at a canteen in Halifax.

“Bobak’s sensitive depiction of Private (later Sergeant) Eva Roy as a Black woman in uniform would have been provocative at the time,” adds Nickerson. “In terms of the social hierarchy of the era, there were few classes more isolated than the Black woman. The dignified and strong representation of Private Roy broke from the established tradition of portraying Black women as exotic and sexualized beings. Thus, it should be considered remarkable that Private Roy is presented as an icon of the war at home."

Gallery Director/CEO Tom Smart comments, “These histories are all too often left out of what gets told. By spotlighting these works in our Orientation Gallery, just inside our main door, we hope to bring attention to some of these stories, and to ensure better that members of all our province’s communities can see themselves in this Gallery.”

These featured artworks will remain on view through April 1, 2018. 

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About the Beaverbrook Art Gallery:

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery was founded by Lord Beaverbrook on September 16, 1959. The Gallery is internationally known for its collection of Atlantic Canadian, Canadian, British, and International works of art. The Beaverbrook Art Gallery “enriches life through art”. As the official art gallery of New Brunswick, and one of Canada’s leading art galleries and most important cultural treasures, its mission is to “bring art and community together in a dynamic cultural environment dedicated to the highest standards in acquisitions, exhibitions, programming, education and stewardship.”

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery enriches life through art.

Media Contact

Jeremy Elder-Jubelin
Manager of Communications
Beaverbrook Art Gallery
703 Queen Street, P.O. Box 605
Fredericton, NB  E3B 5A6
Phone: (506) 458-2039

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