Nova Scotia

Maud Lewis exhibit at Chinese art museums is back on again, N.S. says

The art exhibit features the works of Maud Lewis and six other contemporary female Nova Scotia artists and was postponed in mid-March.

Province announced about 3 weeks ago the exhibit had been postponed

The exhibit features works by Maud Lewis and six other contemporary female Nova Scotia artists. (Consignor Canadian Fine Art)

An art exhibit in China featuring the works of famed Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis and six other contemporary female artists that was unexpectedly postponed will now go ahead as planned.

Nearly three weeks ago, it was announced the launch of exhibit at the Guangdong Museum of Art would be indefinitely delayed, but the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage didn't explain why.

Premier Stephen McNeil and China's ambassador to Canada spoke on the phone on March 19.

"We know there are challenging situations going on between both of our national governments," said McNeil. "But we wanted to make sure that we continue to keep the relationship that we had a good footing."

There has been rising tension between Canada and China since Canadian authorities arrested Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in December. It followed an extradition request from the U.S.

"I told him that we felt that was important continue to build our cultural relationship, and now we receive the next day a recommendation that it's back on," said McNeil.

The Guangdong Museum of Art will host Maud Lewis exhibit this month. In June, it will move to the Coast Art Museum in Zhuhai and then the He Xiangning Art Museum in Shenzhen. The exhibit will then come back to Nova Scotia.

Maud Lewis poses with one of her paintings in front of her home. (Art Gallery of Nova Scotia)

Lewis's works largely feature sights around her tiny home in Marshalltown, near Digby, N.S.

Her paintings may sell for tens of thousands of dollars these days, but it was a very different story during her life: some of her work originally sold for as little as $2 or $3.

In the 1960s, during the last few years of her life, Lewis began gaining more widespread recognition, and two of her pieces were ordered by the White House during Richard Nixon's presidency.

She died in 1970, but her work has become more famous in recent years, bolstered in part by the biopic Maudie, which was released in Canada in 2017 and generated fresh interest in her unique story.

McNeil plans to travel to the region in May for four or five days to try to continue to lobby for a direct passenger flight between Halifax and China.

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