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This has been a busy weekend with the Opening of the Summer Theatre Festival at the Confederation Centre of the Arts and then on the next night the Opening of the Summer Exhibit at the Art Gallery. In both cases it brought out the whose who of PEI Society from the Lieutenant-Governor to Members of Parliament, Senators, Chief Justice and many others actors on our social scene.

The Opening play is Million Dollar Quartet which tells the story of the meeting at Sun Records in December of 1956 of four greats of the Rock and Roll scene, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins in Memphis.

The reception before and after was a lot of fun with a live orchestra and great food by the new Chef of Mavor’s Miguel Cervantes.

The next night was the opening of the Summer Exhibit of the Art Gallery of the Confederation Centre. This being the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, the exhibit highlights the Collection of the Art Gallery, the best pieces of our 17,000 works of Art by great Canadian artists. The Art Gallery is mandated to show only Canadian Art since the Centre is a Memorial to the Fathers of Confederation.

We also unveiled a new giant painting by Canadian Native Artist Robert Houle Aka Blue Thunder who is a  from St-Boniface, Manitoba. It joins the other great canvasses on the same theme by Jean-Paul Lemieux, John Fox, Jane Ash Poitras, Yvon Gallant, Wanda Koop, Jack Shadbolt.

Robert Houle, Blue Thunder (born 1947) is a Saulteaux First Nation Canadian artist, curator, critic, and educator. Houle has had an active curatorial and artistic practice since the mid-1970s. He played an important role in bridging the gap between contemporary First Nations artists and the broader Canadian art scene through his writing and involvement in early important high-profile exhibitions such as Land, Spirit, Power: First Nations at the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, 1992). As an artist, Houle has shown both nationally and internationally. He is predominately a painter working in the tradition of Abstraction, yet he has also embraced a pop sensibility by incorporating everyday images and text into his works.

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We were told or ‘O-ween du muh waun’ by Robert Houle, 2017

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Me and the artist

This great canvas represents the Delaware in the classical pose from the celebrated propaganda painting of Benjamin West, The Death of General Wolfe which is in the National Gallery of Canada.

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The Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West, 1770. The Official story as told is of Wolfe dying on the Plains of Abraham in September 1759 during the famous battle against French General Montcalm. This scene was pure fantasy but it was necessary for propaganda purpose in England to raise taxes to pay for the Seven Year War, the tax raise led a few years later to the American Revolution.

In his painting Houle presents a different narrative, he rejects the fantasy painting of West and presents not a battle scene, stating that who won the battle is not really important and should not be celebrated. For Houle on this anniversary we should celebrate today’s Canada. Further being from the Saulteaux First Nation the idea of 150 years does not apply to his people since they have lived in North America for 15,000 years.

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I also got a very nice gift this weekend, I often give tours to school children aged 8 to 12.

Once class sent me several thank you notes designed and written by the students. IMG_2667.jpg

Each card as a personal message addressed to me as a thank you from a student. I am very proud of this gift and happy that for some kids the day at the Art Gallery meant something.

 

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