Photos

Stephen Harper meets Andy Warhol: Prime ministers go pop art in Fredericton show

A new exhibition at Government House in Fredericton depicts all 23 prime ministers in pop art style: Joe Clark’s hair is orange and Stephen Harper’s jacket is pink. Sir John Abbott’s 19th-century mutton chops are lit in blue and yellow.

Exhibition was brainchild of Bill Bensen, Ontario physician with roots in New Brunswick

Stephen Harper, 2006 to 2015, and Justin Trudeau, 2015 to present (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

Canada's stuffiest prime ministers have never looked so vibrant. 

A new exhibition at Government House in Fredericton depicts all 23 prime ministers in pop art style: Joe Clark's hair is orange and Stephen Harper's jacket is pink.

Sir John Abbott's 19th-century mutton chops are lit in blue and yellow.

Joe Clark, 1979-1980 (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

"They are Warhol-esque, they are electric, they're juicy, they're colourful," says Tim Richardson, the executive assistant to Lieutenant-Governor Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau.

"You can't help but feel something, some emotion, when you see these portraits."

Mackenzie Bowell, 1894–1896 (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Getting to know your PMs

The show was the brainchild of Bill Bensen, an Ontario physician with roots in New Brunswick.

Richard Bedford Bennett, 1930-1935 (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

Bensen was upset when he saw a survey showing most high school students could only name a couple of prime ministers.

He had donated New Brunswick artifacts and antiques over the years, so he contacted Richardson with the idea.

Arthur Meighen, 1920-1921; 1926, and William Mackenzie King, 1921–1926, 1926–1930 and 1935–1948 (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

He then commissioned Julio Ferrer, a Cuban-Canadian painter in Hamilton, to paint the portraits in time for Canada 150.

Ferrer dabbles with politics in his work; past portraits include one of Cuban revolutionary Ernesto (Che) Guevara taking a selfie — a Chelfie it has been dubbed.

Kim Campbell, 1993 (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

The portraits will hang at Government House until September and will be offered for exhibition elsewhere in Canada after that.

John Alexander Macdonald, 1878–1891; 1867–1873 (Jacques Poitras/CBC)