Official portrait of the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson to be unveiled at Rideau Hall
February 13, 2007
OTTAWA—Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will host a ceremony to unveil the official portrait of the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson–Canada’s 26th governor general–on Thursday, February 15, at 4 p.m. at Rideau Hall.
Adrienne Clarkson’s family members, friends, former colleagues and staff are expected to attend the ceremony, as well as the artist, Mary Pratt. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mrs. Laureen Harper, the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien and Mme Aline Chrétien, as well as other dignitaries will be among the guests in attendance. The event will include a performance by Nukariik, two talented Inuit throat singers from Nunavik, northern Quebec, in honour of the former Governor General’s deep commitment to Canada’s North.
“During her tenure as governor general, Adrienne Clarkson often visited Canada’s North and celebrated northern heritage. She worked tirelessly to make every Canadian aware of the realities of the North,” said Governor General Michaëlle Jean. “She also ardently supported Canadian culture and demonstrated tremendous leadership in her role as Commander in Chief of the Canadian Forces.”
Before the end of each vice-regal mandate, the National Capital Commission (NCC) commissions an official portrait of the governor general to hang at Rideau Hall. The official portrait of Madame Clarkson was painted by Newfoundland and Labrador artist Mary Pratt. Mary Pratt graduated from Mount Allison University, School of Fine Arts in 1961. Her work is represented in many prestigious public and private collections across the country, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Memorial University Art Gallery in St. John’s. Mary Pratt’s biography can be found in the annex.
The commissioning of official portraits of former governors general is a long-standing tradition that dates back to 1898. The idea was initiated by Lady Minto—the spouse of then-Governor General Lord Minto—and became reality when it was formally adopted by the subsequent governor general, Lord Grey. For a complete biography of the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, please click on www.gg.ca. Media interested in covering this ceremony are asked to contact the press office prior to the event.
Biography of Mary Pratt
Although Mary Pratt’s career has been associated with Newfoundland where she has lived and painted since 1961, her perceptions and esthetic understanding were shaped in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where she was born in 1935.
In her teens Mary studied with Fritz Bandtner and Alfred Pinsky at the University of New Brunswick. In 1961 she graduated from Mount Allison University with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Her teachers were Lawren P. Harris, Alex Colville and Ted Pulford.
For the next 25 years, she lived in comparative isolation in Salmonier, Newfoundland, where she raised her four children and developed a style of painting based on photographed images taken from her life as a mother, cook, gardener and wife.
Because she kept a daily journal, some of these entries were collected in a book titled A Personal Calligraphy, published by Goose Lane Editions in 2000. During the latter part of the 20th century, the Canadian media became aware of Canadian art and artists. Because of this, Ms. Pratt received strong support, not only from the CBC, but also CTV, Bravo and TV Ontario, and her work was the object of useful critical discussions from the national press.
What they do not illustrate, however, is her life on boards and committees, from the Applebaum-Hébert Committee and the board of the Canada Council to the building committees of hospitals and churches, government task forces on fisheries and on education, to her most major public role as co-chair of the committee responsible for building The Rooms, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Art Gallery, Museum and Archives.
Throughout her career she has been awarded accolades from numerous sources, among them the Canada Council Molson Prize in the Fine Arts and honorary degrees from eight Canadian universities. She is represented nationally and internationally in public and private collections, with dealers in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and St. John’s.
She became a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1997.
Mary Pratt now lives and paints in her home studio in St. John’s, Newfoundland.