Maud Lewis, Three Black Cats, 1960s, Oil on pulpboard, 30.0 x 30.8 cm. Private collection.
An adjunct to the Terroir: Then and Now exhibition, this focus on Maud Lewis showcases examples of her artwork and is especially appropriate given the importance of Yarmouth as a place in her life. Her paintings clearly draw from her surroundings and memories from her childhood. From views of oxen teams working the fields to lighthouses standing watch along the rocky shores, Maud Lewis’ paintings reflect the spirit of rural Nova Scotia and a life inextricably bound to the land and sea.
Maud Lewis (1901-1970) was born to John and Agnes Dowley on the Yarmouth and Acadian Shore of Nova Scotia. Although there is some debate about her exact birth place, recent research has revealed that Maud was born in the town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The backdrop of her playful and colorful images, her only experience of the world extended to an area between her birthplace in Yarmouth County and her married home in Marshalltown, Digby County.
In the world of folk art Maud Lewis is a legendary figure. Her life and accomplishments have been celebrated far and wide in nationally touring exhibitions, publications, and, most recently, on the silver screen in the 2017 cinematic release Maudie.
ArtReach is an educational partnership between the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Department of Education. A key aspect of ArtReach is a travelling exhibition of Canadian prints that are made available for display throughout the province allowing school communities access to original artworks. These original prints were generously donated to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia by the Canada Council Art Bank.
ArtReach print exhibitions are accompanied by tours and printmaking workshops for teachers and students. The tours are interactive in nature promoting discussion and debate among viewers. Facilitated by local artists and arts organizations, the workshops offer hands-on artmaking experiences inspired by the prints. Engagement with and response to the original prints results in many forms of literacy including poetry, soundscapes, storytelling, dance, and visual art.
The theme of windows for this project takes its inspiration from Maud Lewis and the brightly coloured flowers she painted on her window panes. This theme was chosen to align with the goal of the project, which was to connect seniors to the wider community through arts-related activities.
A window allows us to see out and lets illuminating light in. Art can also let you look into your life; and others, when looking at your art may discover more about themselves. Maud’s painted windows brightened her view on the world and allowed passersby to see the work of the artist who lived there.
The artworks on display here were made during workshops and events that occurred over the past year. The participants drew upon their own memories and experiences as inspiration for the art they created.
This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.