A Gaspereau Field Guide to Canadian Artists: Vol. 5
More than any other Canadian artist, Nova Scotian folk artist Maud Lewis (1901–70) is defined as much by her life as by her art. While her story was one of poverty, hardship, physical disability, and chronic pain, it was also one of triumph of character and creativity over circumstance. Catering primarily to the tourists who drove past her tiny house each summer, Lewis’s bright, primitive paintings of oxen, cats, boats, and rural scenes were both a response and an invitation to nostalgia. In this essay, Ray Cronin explores how Lewis’s style and imagery became iconic, synonymous both with the way Nova Scotians’s viewed themselves and the way the province would promote itself to the world.