African-Canadian portraits focus of one-day art show in Guelph to mark Black History Month

An art show this Saturday in Guelph will feature portraits of African-Canadians painted by artist Laurie McGaw as well as other guest artist.

Most of the show is local Guelph people who have modelled for McGaw's class

Guelph artist Laurie McGaw painted this portrait of Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. It will be on display this weekend at a special show at her studio to mark Black History Month. (Provided by Laurie McGaw)

An art show in Guelph on Saturday will mix portraits of people from Guelph with Canadian greats like jazz pianist Oscar Peterson.

Laurie McGaw, an acclaimed portrait artist and illustrator, is holding the show at her studio at 28-C Douglas Street from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

"Most of the show is people that are local Guelph people that have modelled for my [Sunday portrait] class," McGaw said.

The art will include both works by McGaw, who is also known for her work in designing several coins for the Royal Canadian Mint, as well as guest artists.

One of McGaw's favourite portraits is the one she did of Peterson. She recalls spending a "wonderful" afternoon with him at his home for the portrait. It now hangs at the Mississauga campus of the University of Toronto, but she's borrowing it to have it on display for this weekend.

"Obviously, I have a soft spot for the Oscar Peterson painting, but I've had that for many years. But the one that is more recent, I quite like the one I did of a fellow named Jim Livingston, who is associated with the radio station" CFRU at the University of Guelph, she said.

Another familiar face will be John Leacock, who is a realtor in Guelph and also involved with the Guelph Black Heritage Society. McGaw says Leacock posed as a model for a portrait painting class she holds on Sundays.

"It'll be quite a big collection," McGaw said.

McGaw will also have a painting on display that became the cover for the book African Princess: The Amazing Lives of Africa's Royal Women.

Admission to the show on Saturday is free but donations to the heritage society are welcome.

(Tim Wilson)


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