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'Our Emily'
Emily Carr Statue

Victoria, British Columbia


Paterson Monument To Be Unveiled Oct.13th
(Includes information on sculptor Barbara Paterson)
4 October 2010


Emily Carr, one of Canada’s best-known artists who struggled for recognition throughout her life, will now be fittingly memorialized in a monument created by Edmonton sculptor Barbara Paterson. “Our Emily,” as the work is known, will be unveiled on the grounds of Victoria’s Empress Hotel October 13th. Victoria was Carr’s hometown.

Paterson, a fourth-generation Edmontonian, was approached by several Victoria citizens ten years ago when her miniature of the monument to the Famous 5 made a stop at the B.C. Legislature. (The original stands in Calgary’s Olympic Plaza and on Parliament Hill and is featured on the back of the fifty dollar bill.) During those ten years, prices for Carr’s paintings reached the six figure mark and an exhibit of her work, along with that of America’s Georgia O’Keefe and Mexico’s Frida Kahlo had just made its triumphant North American tour.

“At first, I was feeling a bit burnt out after the ‘Famous 5,’ but then the idea of sculpting another artist who truly deserved proper recognition tickled me,” says Paterson. She did some research and sent off a sketch of how she would sculpt Emily Carr. The organizers said to go ahead, though no funds had yet been raised. Paterson worried that Emily might continue to be ignored, but she carried on. “I had a feeling with Emily, that she was pleased with what I was doing,” recalls Paterson. “So I just kept at it.”

In 2008 The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Victoria took on the task of raising the funds. They sought and achieved a prime spot in perpetuity for the monument from the Fairmont Empress and then undertook a nationwide fund drive, which drew to a successful close last month. Foundation President Ann Geddes believes this monument to Emily Carr is astonishing in its creativity and captures Emily’s enormous and colourful personality. Emily will be seated with a sketchpad, her Javanese monkey, ‘Woo’ on her shoulder, and standing faithfully at her side, her dog ‘Billie.’

In addition to Emily Carr and the Famous 5, Paterson’s work includes a 1.25 lifesize piece of former Lt. Governor Lois Hole and also busts of Lois and her husband Ted to be unveiled shortly in the Meditative Gardens within the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Paterson has been included on the University of Alberta Wall of Fame, been named a Woman of Vision by Global TV, and is the recipient of the Alberta Centennial Medal and a Volunteer Award from the Government of Canada.

The unveiling will take place 1:30 pm. Wednesday, October 13th on the grounds of the Fairmont Empress. Former CTV television host Vicki Gabereau will host the festivities, which will feature First Nation’s dignitaries, three actresses portraying Emily, and Victoria’s City of Gardens Sweet Adelines.


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