New exhibit celebrates 50 years of the New Brunswick Art Bank
'You really get a feel for the culture of this province,' says gallery collections manager
The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is opening a new exhibit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the New Brunswick Art Bank.
The New Brunswick Art Bank is a collection of about 820 pieces by more than 118 New Brunswick artists. It was started in 1968 by Robert Pichette, then-deputy premier and minister of cultural affairs.
John Leroux, the manager of collections and exhibitions at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, said the collection in the art bank "really embodies us as a province."
"It's an incredible collection of art that tells our story, that tells what we thought of back then [and] what we're thinking of in the future," Leroux said.
"You really get a feel for the culture of this province."
The exhibit, called "Psi-kwek keti mewi, Tout va bien aller, Everything is gonna be fine, Wela'sitew na," contains 57 pieces from the art bank, including paintings, textiles and sculptures.
The exhibit was curated by three New Brunswick artists: Erin Goodine, Emilie Grace Lavoie and Emma Hassencahl-Perley.
"You get these three young voices of these three young women that are all artists as well in the province looking at how it speaks to them," said Leroux in an interview with Information Morning Fredericton.
Goodine said they spent six months curating the collection.
"At the beginning, we felt a little bit of pressure of like how do we adequately represent this collection," Goodine said.
"At the end of the day, we were like, 'Well, it's almost impossible because there's some many amazing artists in the collection and so many different ways that the collection could be represented.'"
Hassencahl-Perley said they developed three themes they hope New Brunswickers can identify with: ecosystems, voices and new futures.
"When you walk into the gallery, my hope is that people will see themselves fitting into these themes or feeling nostalgic for the place and the space that they occupy," Hassencahl-Perley said.
The three curators are planning to work together as artists for future projects.
Leroux said this is the first "mammoth" exhibition they've had to celebrate the art bank collection.
He said the exhibit shows New Brunswick is more eclectic, varied and sophisticated than people think.
"We have these great stories and we've achieved these incredible things and too often we seem to get anchored down on the pessimistic," he said.
"I think art and culture can inspire us and I think it can act as a springboard for us to achieve better things."
He said the collection contains a lot of beauty and skill.
"There's some quiet elegance in a lot of it."
The exhibit will be open until June.
Hassencahl-Perley said she hopes the project prompts people to research more about the artists and work featured in the exhibit.
"It's really important, great work."
With files from Information Morning Fredericton and Harry Forestall