Although the Beaverbrook Art Gallery is not a “historic place” in the conventional sense, it contains depictions of history captured centuries before the invention of photography. The material is not constrained by the physical world, but can convey the feeling of the artist as they navigate the social norms of their time. At the time of writing, in January, 2023, the Tim Okamura mural of Fredericton sports hero, Willie O’Ree was just unveiled. A BIPOC artist’s depiction of the first Black player in the National Hockey League. This event very much captures the spirit of the early 2020’s, the move towards diversity and the resistance to it (as evidenced by a small but vile social media presence). Future generations will grapple with the conundrum of our times, where both the best and worst of the human spirit is on full display.
Other prominent Black themes material held by the gallery are:
“Bacchanalian Piece: Sir Thomas Samwell and Friends” (1733) by Philippe Mercier, Denis Williams: “Modern Icon” (1954), Fred Ross: “Drawing of a Black Youth” (1949), John Singleton Copley, “Watson and the Shark” and New Brunswick’s own Edward Bannister: “The Hay Wagon”.
Images courtesy of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery