Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax)

Generations: The Sobey Family and Canadian Art

Image: Kent Monkman (b. 1965), Study for “mistikôsiwak (Wooden Boat People): Resurgence of the People,” (Final Variation), 2019, acrylic on canvas, 107.3 x 213.4 cm, Collection of the Sobey Art Foundation, © Kent Monkman.Generations: The Sobey Family and Canadian Art will tell the story of one family’s visionary engagement with Canadian and Indigenous art, braiding together works by early European newcomers like Cornelius Krieghoff; titans of Canadian 20th century art, the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson, David Milne and Emily Carr; a rich display of works by the Quebec Impressionists, as well as Automatiste painters Jean Paul Riopelle and Paul-Émile Borduas; and works by trail-blazing artists of today, including contemporary Indigenous artists Kent Monkman, Brenda Draney, Brian Jungen and Annie Pootoogook, as well as leading international artist Peter Doig. A recurring theme in the exhibition is the North Atlantic, its role in history, and its impact on artists’ imaginations.

Curated by Sarah Milroy, Generations: The Sobey Family and Canadian Art is organized and circulated by McMichael Canadian Art Collection with special thanks to Sobey Art Foundation and Empire Company Limited.


Paul-Émile Borduas, Franklin Carmichael, Emily Carr, A.J. Casson, Alex Colville, Maurice Cullen, Peter Doig, Mario Doucette, Brenda Draney, Clarence Gagnon, Lawren S. Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Ursula Johnson, Brian Jungen, Cornelius Krieghoff, William Kurelek, Jean Paul Lemieux, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, H. Mabel May, David Milne, Kent Monkman, J.W. Morrice, Frederick B. Nichols, John O’Brien, Robert Wakeham Pilot, Annie Pootoogook, Christopher Pratt, Jean Paul Riopelle, Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, Tom Thomson, Joseph Tisiga, F.H. Varley.


The Shape of Cities is a group exhibition of 20th century paintings and sculptures, alongside 19th century historic prints from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s permanent collection.

From resource extraction to construction, the expansion of our cityscapes has shaped our creative paths as much as we have shaped our surrounding environments. This exhibition explores the impact of 20th century urban and rural industrial landscapes on artistic expression, both in historic prints and cartography, and in schools of art including Impressionism, Modernism, Abstract Expressionism and Folk Art.

How have shifting urban environments and landscaping of our natural world around us affected our artistic output? In what cases has art been used to document history, remember our past, and to provoke change? How does it inspire further understanding of ourselves and our neighbours as we move forward? How do our relationships with our urban spaces affect our collective well-being?