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Emily Powers Opens Show on Impactful Women of Lunenburg to Full House

(Photo: Sal Falk)

In a town that has praised the work and accomplishments of men for over 250 years and long put weight to your last name, Emily Powers asks us to consider the influential women in contemporary Lunenburg in her latest exhibition, “Friends & Neighbours: A Portrait Series of Impactful Women in our Community.”

The Ramp Studio in the upstairs of the Lunenburg School of the Arts barely had an empty seat Thursday night for the opening of Powers’ show. 

(Photo: Sienna Maeba)

The emerging artist gave a short presentation on the subjects of her exhibition before inviting guests downstairs to experience the art for themselves.

Powers selected five women to feature with her distinctive portraiture approach. Each woman was chosen for their unique contribution to our community whether they’ve been here their whole lives or recently moved here. 

“The women I chose to paint are but a few of the incredible folks who make this community great, showcasing a variety of different lived experiences and backgrounds,” writes Powers. 

“There is so much more to Lunenburg than the UNESCO status, the beautiful buildings, and the history. This is a place where people live, and this series celebrates those who actively work to make this community better for all of us.”

(Photo: Sal Falk)

The five subjects, Joy Saunders, Sally Hutchison, Patricia Watson, Teresa Quilty and Gail Atkinson, were all present Thursday night to witness the opening.

Unlike the other women who all decided to see the paintings before the show, Patricia Watson decided to wait for the opening to see the painting. Watson is known for handing out cards that say “who you are and what you do is greatly appreciated” to people she’s interacted with.

Despite sharing she prefers instant gratification, Watson was glad she waited to see her portrait in conversation with the others hanging in the gallery.

The portraits quite literally embody the spirit of each woman. Gail Atkinson, captain of the Nellie Row, the first all women-crewed lobster boat in Canada, is painted with buoys in her torso. Teresa Quilty, champion of Ne’ata’q, the food forest at Bluenose Academy, is holding an entire forest landscape in her silhouetted body.

(Photo: Sal Falk)

You do not need to hear Powers speak about these women’s contributions to our community to look at the portraits and feel their power. The masterful articulation of the medium layered with Powers’ original capturing of individual essence creates a strong body of work that is most impactful when hung together.

Seeing the paintings together in the gallery, you get the sense that these women stand strong on their own but they are looking at each other like they are all in on a secret. There is a network that bonds these community-minded women whether they know it or not.

Powers was the winter Artist-in-Residence at the LSA. According to their website the program is designed to “provide a space for emerging artists, including recent graduates, to enable them to develop and enhance their practice in their chosen medium.” 

You can visit the exhibition Monday to Friday 10AM-5PM or by chance. It’s on display until June 12, 2023.


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