Hughes Exhibition Returns

Breaker Beach by EJ Hughes (1961)

Breaker Beach by EJ Hughes (1961)

Canadian painter EJ Hughes’ exhibition The Man and his Art has been extended at the Nanaimo Art Gallery, 150 Commercial Street, until Sunday, August 16, 2009. This is actually an encore show for the summer after breaking attendance records in its first run this spring. If you missed the exhibit the first time or if you have visiting friends and relatives, this is a great opportunity to view the works of a man who has been described as a national treasure.

According to board president, Ian Niamath, “Almost all of the contributors were able to extend their loan for this encore presentation. One collector’s works were previously committed and they have been replaced providing us with a ‘makeover’ of the exhibition. Even if you’ve already enjoyed the show, there will be new works to discover.”

Nearly 2,000 visitors enjoyed the previous exhibition which opened with the unveiling of the Hughes mural in the Vancouver Island Conference Centre and ran until mid-June, 2009. “An all-time record attendance for any gallery event was achieved,” reports gallery manager Ed Poli. “We’re very pleased to return his work this so that tourists visiting Nanaimo can also appreciate this internationally-renowned artist.” Screenings of the documentary film EJ Hughes, The Restoration, produced in coordination with the mural conservation project, are being shown at the gallery throughout the run.

EJ Hughes spent most of his life painting landscapes of Vancouver Island. Inspired by the beauty of the natural surroundings, he developed his own unique style depicting the coastal environment. His most famous painting, Fishboats, River Inlet (1946) sold in 2004 for nearly one million dollars – the highest price ever paid for a work by a living Canadian artist at that time. The recipient of many awards, Hughes received the Order of Canada (2001) and the Order of BC (2005) before passing away in 2007 at age 93.

In recognition of the dedication of the mural as public art and this special exhibition, the Hughes estate has authorized production and sale of limited edition full size giclée prints of six of Hughes most famous oils and watercolours. Other merchandise available includes a commemorative poster and the show’s catalogue. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors, members, and students. For more information call 250-754-1750.

Mike Shaw says: July 16, 2009 at 9:41 pm

An excellent show and finally the Malaspina Mural is restored and in a safe place at the Convention Centre.

If people miss the Nanaimo exhibition, they can visit the permanent E. J. Hughes Gallery in downtown Duncan. Reproductions only, but a great variety.