News Release Archive

The special exhibits gallery at the Museum of Natural History,
Halifax  is packed with Acadian archeological artifacts, a rare
Acadian costume and paintings of life 200 years ago. 

But it is the work of Acadian artist Francois Gaudet that draws
visitors back to the present.

The exhibit, Acadian Portraits, is part of Celebrating Acadie, a
seven week festival of Acadian exhibits and events at the Museum. 
Mr. Gaudet said, "I wanted to show contemporary Acadia.  We seem
to be tied up in the past.  Since I can't photograph the future I
chose the pieces the most up-to-date for the exhibit."

"I find people really fascinating.  A face is always changing,
like a landscape.  They pass emotions through their faces and it
is my job to reveal those emotions.  Together we can come up with
something  amazing," he said.  

Viewers can tell Mr. Gaudet's subjects enjoy working with him as
much as he enjoys working with them.  Acadian Portraits' subjects
have allowed Gaudet to capture their personalities on film.

For example, potter and painter Ronald Landry, wearing an
old-fashioned hat and cropped beard, looks like he could tell you
the stories behind the artifacts across the gallery.  His wry
smile and the creases around his eyes say his story would be
witty and full of verve.  

Mr. Gaudet says his subjects are so comfortable with him because
he is so comfortable with himself. His childhood in the Baie
Sainte-Marie area is the foundation of a strong sense of
identity. "Where we live is very close to who I am.  An Acadian's
life is marked by living by the ocean. It is the colour of Acadia
that influences me." 

Mr. Gaudet returned to Nova Scotia in 1992 after living away for
more than 15 years. "By moving away you lose part of your
identity.  By moving back you regain it all," he said.

He uses his own photographs and a stock of photos left to him by
his father.  "My dad's work goes back 40, 50 years, maybe even
more.   I get to go back and forth between all those generations. 
It really reinforces my identity too." He alters black and white
photographs with paint and anything else he can imagine.  When he
finishes he has transformed the photograph with his

Acadian Portraits features 18 pictures of Acadian musicians and
artists who are currently active in Nova Scotia. Gaudet
photographed the subjects with an icon of their art.  Rose-Alba,
a raconteur, hefts a model of the church that is central to the
community she satirizes.

Some of his popular work appears on the cover of a Rawlin's Cross
CD and the promotional poster for the musical Evangeline.


Contact: Sheila Stevenson   902-424-6523

sab                Feb. 11, 1997      11:15 a.m.