A B.C. painter’s portraits of pride

A handsome collection of First Nations portraits that was recently donated to UBC Library by B.C. artist Patricia Richardson Logie is being unveiled on UBC’s Vancouver campus this month.

The show will offer art aficionados a chance to view a project that took nearly a decade to complete. “I’ve waited for years to have them appreciated,” says Logie, who lives on the Sunshine Coast with her husband Bob. “It’s a thrill for me to see them at UBC, as you can well imagine.”

“Patricia brought her skill, her medium and her careful thought to a genre of painting that had often memorialized the most privileged members of society,” says Linc Kesler, Director of the First Nations House of Learning and Senior Advisor to UBC President Stephen Toope on Aboriginal Affairs. “She used it to bring a kind of visibility and attention to Aboriginal people who were her contemporaries, but often not yet at the points of public visibility that some had in their later roles.”

During the 1970s, Richardson Logie taught art at UBC Continuing Studies. Indeed, Logie — who was born in Ontario in 1925 — has spent much of her life pursuing artistic endeavors. She studied in London, England, and her works have been displayed and featured in collections in Canada, the US, the UK and Japan.

She began painting Chronicles of Pride in 1982, after becoming frustrated with First Nations imagery that she viewed as clichéd. The project was completed in 1991. “I had to get it done, and it had to be the way I saw it,” Richardson Logie says. “I think it really stems from my father’s attitude — that everybody is worthwhile.”

Some of the collection’s first paintings include portraits of Yvonne Dunlop and Lyle Wilson, who were both students in the Native Indian Teacher Education Program at UBC. Other subjects include Verna Kirkness, the first Director of UBC’s First Nations House of Learning; actress Margo Kane, who is the 2009/10 Aboriginal Distinguished Artist in Residence in UBC’s Department of Theatre and Film; Judge Alfred Scow, the first Aboriginal to graduate from UBC Law; singer, dancer and storyteller Dorothy Francis; Senator and UBC alumnus Leonard Marchand; Guujaaw, President of the Haida Nation; and Nisga’a Chief James Gosnell.

Last November, UBC Library held a standing-room only event at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre to celebrate the donation and honour Richardson Logie and her family. University Librarian Ingrid Parent also used the occasion to announce the Richardson Logie Chronicles of Pride Fund, which will help promote and maintain the collection (several portraits were on display at the event).

“We’re grateful for Patricia’s donation to UBC Library,” Parent says. “Her portraits of Aboriginal role models and community leaders are a wonderful contribution to the University and to our cultural conversations.”

Chronicles of Pride is also accompanied by a book (Chronicles of Pride: A Journey of Discovery, published by Detselig Enterprises Ltd.), a teacher resource guide and a video that contains profiles of the portrait subjects. These resources are available at various UBC Library branches, including Xwi7xwa Library, the only Aboriginal branch of a university library in Canada.

Most of the collection will be on display from March 8 to March 26 at the Learning Centre Gallery, located on level two of the Learning Centre and adjacent to the library’s circulation desk. The entire collection will also be featured on a screen accompanying the exhibit.

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