Stephen Harper meets Andy Warhol: Prime ministers go pop art in Fredericton show
Exhibition was brainchild of Bill Bensen, Ontario physician with roots in New Brunswick
By Jacques Poitras, CBC News Posted: Jun 13, 2017 7:36 PM AT Last Updated: Jun 13, 2017 8:21 PM AT
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.
"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."
Getting to know your PMs
The show was the brainchild of Bill Bensen, an Ontario physician with roots in New Brunswick.
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.
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.
The portraits will hang at Government House until September and will be offered for exhibition elsewhere in Canada after that.
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Canada's prime ministers have probably never looked as vibrant as they do in this stylized portrait exhibit at Fredericton's Government House. CBC's Jacques Poitras takes you through it.
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