The Beauty of It All: Joseph Reid & Marina Sudworth

(March 8 – May 24, 2024)

Reception with the artists: Friday, March 8, 2024 (6:30-8:30 pm). All are welcome to attend. Refreshments will be provided.

The Beauty of It All presents a comprehensive selection of paintings and sculptural works by Joseph Reid and Marina Sudworth of Dominion, Nova Scotia. Notable for their purity of vision, the works of both artists assume significance as authentic expressions of folk-art spirit within the culture of Unama’ki / Cape Breton. Together, Marina and Joseph offer two divergent approaches to folk art; one traditional, figurative, and deeply-rooted in whimsical storytelling of life in Atlantic Canada: the other abstracted, and focused on the formal qualities of colour, form and texture to express deeply emotional and spiritual responses to memories of past life and the uncertainty of a changing world.

The CBU Art Gallery is delighted to present the works of these two artists together in this very special exhibition, their first formal presentation of art on the island.

Bio (extracts from an exhibition forward by David P. Stephens):

“Dominion folk artists Joseph Reid and Marina Sudworth have enjoyed a thirty-plus year relationship which has taken on a life of its own over time, causing them to engage with one another emotionally, spiritually, and artistically.

Joseph has lived in the ‘family home’ in the Town of Dominion for most of his life. Other than short-lived forays into the ‘big cities’, Dominion has been home; his safe haven.

In the late 1980’s, Marina Sudworth became part of the Reid family when she and her partner Lexter –  Joseph’s brother – moved into his grandmother’s home, adjacent to the [Reid] family home. Marina led a quiet, private life, and she helped the family immensely over the years.

During that period, Joseph’s older brother Lorne Reid, had gained recognition as a folk artist of renown, Sadly, his artistic output was cut short when he was diagnosed with cancer.  Lorne passed away at the family home in Dominion in March of 1991, with Joe by his side. Losing Lorne had a huge impact on the Reid family.  It was at this difficult yet pivotal moment that I believe Joe became a folk artist, as he found solace and comfort, delving into his unique, raw painting style, utilizing brushes, paints and unfinished works left behind by Lorne.

Marina has held a penchant for painting little vignettes – containing memories, recollections and dreams of her early life in her Newfoundland home. It’s just recently that she’s felt comfortable sharing these joyous snippets of her life and times with those from outside of her family. Marina [continues to enjoy] painting [and expressing her love of life]”.

– David P. Stephens


Continuing until February 16, 2024, Proletariart features the work of artists of all ages and levels of experience from across Unama’ki / Cape Breton. Come and experience the diversity and range of talent the island has to offer!

Also continuing through February 16, 2024:

Alfred LeBlanc: Portraits of Cape Breton

A selection of black and white photographs dating back to to the late ’70s, when Alfred LeBlanc began to photograph individuals from across Cape Breton in their homes and workplaces. These beautiful photographs offer a remarkable glimpse into the past and an extraordinary record of the people from the many diverse communities across the island. Accompanying the exhibition are written accounts identifying the individuals shown and their stories.


Avian Cyborgs: The Art of Terry Graff

(April 28 – July 14, 2023)

Reception with the artist: Friday, May 19, 2023 (6:00-8:00 pm). All are welcome to attend. Refreshments will be provided.

Terry Graff is a multi-media visual artist who is best known for his evocative images of mutant duck and bird machines or “avian cyborgs,” a distinctive vision in Canadian art that speaks to the conflicted relationship between nature and technology and to other troubling existential themes of our time. He states: “My work is an allegory of our human predicament, an expression of how technological progress has increased our human capabilities and enhanced our quality of life, but at the same time has made us more vulnerable to the harmful consequences of its dark side. The bird motif, which has been a persistent subject in my art since childhood, is my primary vehicle for expressing what it feels like to live in a time of crisis, of prevailing fears and anxieties brought on by real-life perils unfolding on the planet — climate change and ecological catastrophes, the trauma and brutal carnage of war, and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Born in Cambridge (Galt), Ontario, Canada, Terry Graff studied Fine Art at the Doon School of Fine Arts, Doon, Ontario, and Fanshawe College of Applied Arts and Technology, London, Ontario. He received a B.A. in Fine Art from the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, and a B.Ed in Visual Arts from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario. He also studied art history, philosophy of art, media arts, and art education at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, received a postgraduate diploma in Fine Art (M.F.A. equivalent) from the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Masstricht, the Netherlands, and holds a M.A. in Art Education from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax. Along with his intensive studio practice, Graff has had a distinguished career as a curator, art educator, art writer, and gallery director. He has served as director of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Mendel Art Gallery, Rodman Hall Arts Centre, Confederation Centre Art Gallery, and Struts Gallery. He has curated over 200 exhibitions, authored numerous articles, catalogues, and books on both contemporary and historical art, and taught drawing and sculpture at Mount Allison University.




Selections of work from the permanent collection, including prints, paintings and sculptural work by Georges Braque, June Leaf, Richard Hamilton, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Ningeeuga Oshuitoq and more. On view until March 31, 2023.


October 7 – December 9, 2022

Opening Reception & Artist’s Talk: Friday October 7, 6:30 – 8:30 pm.


About the Exhibition:

Inspired by time I spent in Inverness, Nova Scotia, this collection of work reflects on the relationship between our lived, ephemeral experience and its visual representations. Inverness, it seems to me, is a place where timelessness and the beauty of the landscape dissolve schedules, distances, and relationships of many kinds. It inspires me to capture the experience of being there, to reproduce its moments of enchantment

Here, I present the different ways I respond to this place: I paint a series of watercolours of the first journey I made to Inverness from New York inspired by travel slideshows. To record an idle day alone in Inverness I keep a journal. It evolves into a unique, handmade accordion book with text and images which runs the length of the gallery. The ocean and its sounds are a dominant presence in Inverness. I transform them into a mural in the style of 19th century marine engravings and an accompanying chart of soundwaves. The dazzling Inverness sunsets are photographed and shared online again and again. I, instead, recreate one on a “digital screen” made of folded paper pixels. To somehow comprehend the vast night sky, brilliant with stars, I diagram it as a constellation chart. The tradition of plein air painting and drawing is central to my practice. I include examples of drawings and watercolours done on site in Inverness to share my immediate, intuitive response to its captivating, elusive landscape.


Elizabeth Whalley is a Canadian artist whose work examines phenomena at the intersection of the man-made and natural worlds demonstrating their often problematic but, also, beautiful interplay. While her visual language is based in drawing, painting and printmaking she also uses experimental media, installation and interactive performance.

She has created participatory and public art projects and exhibited her work in New York, the Maritimes, and Quebec. She was awarded a Canada Council travel grant, a McNair Scholars research grant, and a Pratt faculty grant. She has attended artist residencies in Newfoundland, California, and Montreal. She received her MFA and an Advanced Certificate in Performance and Interactive Media Arts from Brooklyn College, City University of New York after studies at Concordia University, Montreal. She has taught at Adelphi University, Haverford College, Pratt Institute, Pont Aven School of Contemporary Art, and Brooklyn College. She was the manager of the Inverness County Centre for the Arts, Inverness, NS. from 2015 to 2019.

Painting of two bears and a woman in a dress with bowls of hot food

July 15 – September 9, 2022

Opening Reception: Friday July 22, 6:30-8:30 pm. The artist will be present. Refreshments will be provided

Judy is a fictional character, invented by Laura Kenney. She is representative of everyone who has ever harboured desires to break the prescribed roles and social codes of behaviour that confine us all. Anyone who has ever wished to say, “to hell with cooking dinner, going to work, putting on that suit, or doing that laundry!”: anyone who has ever wanted to change the problematic order of things and fix the troubles of this world… will find an ally in Judy!


Laura Kenney was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan but her roots are in Nova Scotia. Kenney has been creating and exhibiting hooked rugs as a professional artist for 21 years in her studio in Truro, NS. While rug hooking has a long tradition of artistic production in Nova Scotia, it is often seen only as a form of decorative craft. Her work bridges these lines of fine craft, contemporary art and folk traditions.

Kenney received juried status with the Nova Scotia Craft Council in 2010. Her work “Morning Routine” and “Waiting for the Cat to Let her Out” was purchased by Nova Scotia Art Bank for their permanent collection. In 2016, Kenney had her first solo show at Mary E. Black Gallery in Halifax and a selection of Kenney’s work was included in “Terroir”, a survey of art in Nova Scotia at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.


Continuing through June 24, 2022

The Cape Breton University Art Gallery is excited to announce a new exhibition, ‘The Queer Mummer,’ featuring the works of Lucas Morneau, a queer interdisciplinary artist and curator whose work in fibre art, performance, photography, video, installation, printmaking, and sculpture deconstructs gender norms and challenges homophobic, transphobic, and heteronormative attitudes in Western society. They received their Bachelor of Fine Arts at Memorial University – Grenfell Campus in 2016, and their Master of Fine Arts) at University of Saskatchewan in 2018. The show began with a soft opening on April 25, and will remain available to the public until DATE **. The Gallery is open from 10 am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 4 pm Monday to Friday.

Through the The Queer Mummer, Lucas’s alter-ego, the artist blends the art form of drag with the Newfoundland tradition of mummering. The two cultural forms rely on a transformation of the self through costume and performance. “Both drag and mummering are tools for the multi-vocal expression of identity, and both blur and subvert the gender binary. Therefore, both drag and mummering queer public space in one way or another and give license to possibilities beyond the two sex, two gender system; offering concrete reconfigurations of gender and gender performance,” Lucas explains.

The exhibition hosts fibre art, digital imagery, video, and monoprint depicting The Queer Mummer and a vibrant exploration of gender performativity


A table for two

January 28 – March 25, 2022. A public reception to celebrate the exhibition will be announced.

Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 10:00 – 12 noon; 1:00 – 3:30 pm. Individual visitations do not currently require appointments. For group visitations please contact the gallery in advance. CBU requires that all visitors to campus be fully vaccinated. Security check-in for visitors to the Gallery is located at the Great Hall entrance.

A Table for Two showcases the wood sculptures created by Henry and Gevee Boudreau in their home on Janvrin Island in Isle Madame, Cape Breton. The two worked at their kitchen table, talking through ideas for what Henry should sculpt. The sculptures, often depicting friends or family in their community tending to their work, hobbies, or domestic lives, were first carved in wood by Henry, with an attention paid to small detail. Henry would also sew clothing for the figures. Gevee would paint the figures in vibrant colours for a cheerful final product. The show features a wide range of the Boudreau’s subjects, including self portraits and a likeness of Sidney Crosby shooting pucks against a clothes dryer.

Henry and Gevee shared a love at first sight. The work they collaborated on was an extension of their relationship, exemplifying their closeness through a shared artistic vision. While Henry passed away in 2016, the Gallery is pleased to join with Gevee in celebrating the art the two made together.


Ken Lywood: Anything Goes

Cape Breton University Art Gallery, September 24 – November 19, 2021

PLEASE NOTE: Visitation during current, regular gallery hours (Tuesday-Friday 10am-12pm and 1-4 pm), requires proof of vaccination to be presented to security upon arrival on campus (a security station is located in the Great Hall near the Gallery entrance).

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Anything Goes presents an extraordinary selection of paintings and drawings by the established Canadian artist, Ken Lywood. Classical mythology, figuration, landscape, the nude, history painting… all come together in Ken’s work to present a vibrant and complex portrait of the artist in an exhibition that defies convention and embraces the risk of life and art.

About the Artist:

Formerly an instructor at The New School of Art in Toronto, Ken Lywood left the city’s art scene over twenty years ago to retreat into the woodlands of Unama’ki / Cape Breton to raise his family and paint.


Ko’kmanaq emittukutijik I Yonkhinatá:res ne onkwara’séhson I Our Cousins Visit

Cape Breton University Art Gallery, September 26, 2020 – present (ongoing)

Curated by Elizabeth Doxtater & Greg Davies

Available for onsite, gallery viewing by appointment. Please contact greg_davies@cbu.ca to book.

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Opening on September 26th and continuing through 2021, The CBU Art Gallery presents an exhibition of visual work by young Indigenous artists from Eskasoni, Potlotek and the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario. The exhibition is at once a celebration of emerging talent and the coming together of younger ‘cousins’ hosting their older cousins across Turtle Island, where the gallery space becomes a site of peace and friendship and a meeting ground for sharing expressions of experience, thoughts, ideas and values. The Two-Row Wampum (or Peace and Friendship Treaty), was made over 1,000 years ago between Indigenous nations.

There were also three Two Row agreements made with Europeans that historically goes back to the 17th century. The latter is more commonly referred to because of the impact of contact. The visual signification reflects two vessels (a canoe and a European vessel), side-by-side, each navigating the river of life. It resembles a mathematical ‘equal’ sign when held sideways. Regarded lengthwise, it is understood that the ancestors had expectations for the coming faces when they placed their canoe in those waters so many years ago.

Each concurrent generation of matriarchs and leaders have been responsible for control of the paddle to guide to calm waters while protecting everything in that canoe. These young people currently have a responsibility to prepare to take that paddle as they become the next generation to fill those leadership roles. As we look at the works brought together in this exhibition, we are reminded that these young artists are also the ‘coming faces’ to the world of Indigenous Art.




Cape Breton University Art Gallery, April 9 – August 27, 2021

Curated by Greg Davies

Exhibition visitation by online reservation only due to COVID-19 restrictions. Note that seating is limited for visitation during regular gallery hours (Tuesday-Friday 10am-12pm and 1-4 pm). To book a seat, please contact Deanna_Manolakos@cbu.ca

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This exhibition brings to Cape Breton a body of work initiated in Germany by local, multi-media artist, Onni Nordman. In 2020, just prior to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Onni was invited to the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, Munich, for a three-month residency to produce and exhibit work related to his interests in the molecular composition of the human body and its links to the subatomic world. This was to have been followed by a second residency at the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics in Garching, Munich before the global pandemic compelled Onni and his partner and manager, Paula Muise, to return home to South Bar. Fortunately, the larger portion of the first residency was complete by the time of his departure.

Of his time at the Institute, Onni notes:

“I went there with a question, for the experts. Is life, going from the single cell, to consciousness, to civilization – is it an unbroken chain of cause and effect, or, does there, at some point, exist a break, where the patterns of our life are independent of the laws of the subatomic world? Are we different, or, is everything an infinite lineage from the big bang?”

Onni Nordman: Max Planck Residency Works presents art inspired by this line of questioning and the  conversations held with scientists and researchers in Munich. The exhibition is both a celebration of this special moment of intersection between science and art, sparked by curiosity, and an invitation to join with Onni on his path of enquiry about the fundamental questions of life itself.

Artist’s Bio:

Onni Nordman is an established multi-media artist, from Sydney, Cape Breton. Formally trained at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, he has exhibited widely across Nova Scotia and has had solo exhibitions in Michigan, Helsinki and Munich. His work is represented in private collections across Canada as well as New York, Munich, Prague, Dublin, Tallinn, Dubai, Melbourne, Helsinki, Turku, Lahti, Joensuu. In 2009, Onni was the recipient of an Established Artist Recognition Award from the Nova Scotia Arts & Culture Partnership. He also received a Visual Art Award from the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design in 2015. His professional work has included teaching in the field of painting and regular activity in local arts initiatives. Onni’s contributions to the arts in Cape Breton have also involved ongoing mentorship and support for colleagues and aspiring artists.

Following two exhibitions in Germany and Finland, as well as a two-month residency in Munich in 2015, Onni returned to that city for three shows and two residencies, the first of which happened to be at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry where the scientists were studying the pandemic before it took hold. The third show and residency were postponed when Canadians were called home. The work featured in this exhibition is an extension of the interests and explorations he cultivated there.



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Continuing online! To Be Frank features work by the celebrated Swiss-American photographer Robert Frank, and Cape Breton photographer Chad Tobin. A paired exhibition of nine prints by Frank from the permanent collection of the CBU Art Gallery along with twenty prints by Tobin taken over a ten year period during which he visited Robert and June Leaf at their summer home in Mabou. The exhibition is a deeply personal and resonant celebration of friendship and mentorship. Please be sure to revisit this space as we expand the selection of gallery images, notes and videos featuring insights and commentary from from the artists and curator. Currently the exhibition must remain online due to COVID-19 quarantines; however, we will provide notification here and on our social media platforms should there be any changes to the public access restrictions. We thank you for your patience and understanding.





August 16, 2019 – October 4, 2019

First You Dream: Celebrating 75 Years of the Nova Scotia Talent Trust 

Artist: Charley Young, Dan O’Neill, Despo Sophocleous, Emily Vey Duke, Jordan Broadworth, Lucy Pullen, Lux Habrich, Pamela Ritchie, Sandra Brownlee, Sara Hartland-Rowe

Organized by MSVU Art Gallery in partnership with Cape Breton University Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

The Nova Scotia Talent Trust was founded in 1944 and has been awarding scholarships to visual artists since 1949. To celebrate the NSTT 75th Anniversary, First You Dream developed out of a call for entries to all scholarship recipients, inviting submissions of recent work. The final exhibition selection resulted in a broad range of media, including drawing, ceramics, fibre, jewellery, mixed-media, painting, printmaking, sculpture and video. The generational mix of the artists (indicated by the dates of their Talent Trust scholarships) ranges from 1979 to 2016—a span of 37 years. The exhibition includes work by Jordan Broadworth, Sandra Brownlee, Lux Habrich, Sara Hartland-Rowe, Dan O’Neill, Lucy Pullen, Pamela Ritchie, Despo Sophocleous, Emily Vey Duke, and Charley Young.

The Nova Scotia Talent Trust and partner galleries recognize the support of the Province of Nova Scotia through the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

Proletariart 2019:

Proletariart 2019 is scheduled to open on Friday November 4, from 2-4 p.m. Details regarding submission guidelines and dates will be announced this summer on our social media and webpage platforms.