The West Coast Wire

Special ‘homecoming’ for an artist

New Port au Port East art centre features work from Paulette Campbell’s collection

- STEPHEN ROBERTS stephen.roberts@saltwire.com

Paulette Campbell’s art collection features a treasure trove of art from a diverse array of background­s.

Now, she’s sharing much of it with her community. The Homecoming is an art exhibit curated from Campbell’s personal collection. It’s on display at The Gale, the former convent run by the Presentati­on Sisters at 290 Main St., Port au Port East. Its opening on April 28 coincided with the opening of The Gale itself. The exhibit is open until May 28.

Combining Campbell’s own work with other art she has collected through the years, she feels the exhibit tells a story about her life.

“I called it Homecoming because it all stems from my art worlds merging and my collection­s merging and the determinat­ion of staying in one place for a little while,” she tells West Coast Wire.

Campbell has lived away for most of her life, but she returned to Port au Port East, where she grew up, in 2021. The exhibit includes work collected from her time working with the Associatio­n for New Canadians in the early 1990s. She explains during that time she worked with artists who migrated from Eastern Europe after the dissolutio­n of the Soviet Union.

“They were very conscious of some negativity towards immigratio­n at the time and they countered the narrative by offering to have an exhibit which I helped with,” Campbell explains. “There were a number of projects relating to the artists that I was able to help with. They were very gracious and many of them gave me artwork.”

She feels these works, from places such as Bulgaria, Moldova, Lithuania and Russia, feature a different perspectiv­e and approach to art.

The Homecoming also features art collected from her 14 years teaching art in Arctic Bay, Nunavut.

“My students did beautiful work while I was there,” she says.

Carvings and artifacts are among the items displayed from this period of her life. Local Newfoundla­nd artists are also strongly represente­d in the exhibit, with works from Stuart Montgomeri­e, Gerry Squires, Manfred Buchheit, George Horan and others.

“These were very special gifts,” she says about all the work she has collected. “And I’m quite proud of it and very honoured to have these pieces in my collection.”

Campbell’s own drawings, sculptures, ceramics, prints and paintings are featured in a designated area. She is also displaying her photograph­y from a 1998 show she debuted called Spur of the Moment.

Until May 28, The Homecoming is open to the public between 2 and 5 p.m. If people wish to book another time to visit, including beyond

May 28, they can call 709690-2283.

Campbell purchased the former convent from the Presentati­on Sisters in January.

“When the convent became available, I thought I would just look at it and see if whoever buys it might have studio space that I could work in, and I just fell in love with the building,” she explains. “Because clearly it was used for educationa­l purposes and there were many shelves and many rooms that could work beautifull­y as classroom space or study space or studio space.”

The availabili­ty of the building became a determinin­g factor in her decision to stay in Port au Port East. She named it The Gale because of the way the building “sings” when hit by a certain direction of wind.

“The gale … has a very strong sense of direction,” she reflects. “I think it’ll be an interestin­g name.”

She hopes The Gale can be a place where she and other artists can create, teach and exhibit.

The Homecoming is by no means the only thing has planned for it. Campbell hopes to support other artists by hosting their work and by offering programs that could support other artists in the area.

“My idea here is to involve other artists so I can continue to learn and that it becomes a place where learning is shared,” she explains. “That’s my philosophy of how I want to see this place develop.”

Campbell adds she would like to invite others to curate the art for potential future exhibits.

However, she knows first she will need to find sources of support, so she doesn’t want to set unrealisti­c expectatio­ns.

“I’m going to let it grow as it can and I want it to be more of a natural growth. I don’t want to be overly ambitious,” she says.

Over the summer, she sees an opportunit­y to utilize the space as an Airbnb. Art classes may come next. An experience­d teacher, Campbell hopes to start offering classes at The Gale this fall.

 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D ?? Paulette Campbell purchased the former convent, now renamed the Gale, in Port au Port East from the Presentati­on Sisters earlier this year. The sisters were in attendance to commemorat­e the opening of the new art centre with Campbell on April 28. From left, Sister Margie Byrne, Sister Rosalie Carey, Sister Betty Rae Lee, Sister Roisin Gannon, Sister Betty Daniels, Paulette Campbell and Sister Kay Rex.
CONTRIBUTE­D Paulette Campbell purchased the former convent, now renamed the Gale, in Port au Port East from the Presentati­on Sisters earlier this year. The sisters were in attendance to commemorat­e the opening of the new art centre with Campbell on April 28. From left, Sister Margie Byrne, Sister Rosalie Carey, Sister Betty Rae Lee, Sister Roisin Gannon, Sister Betty Daniels, Paulette Campbell and Sister Kay Rex.
 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D ?? The first exhibit at The Gale, The Homecoming, includes Paulette Campbell’s own work as well as items she has collected over the years from Newfoundla­nd artists, her art students in Nunavut and Eastern European immigrants she worked with in the 1990s. Seen here is a hallway designated for her own work.
CONTRIBUTE­D The first exhibit at The Gale, The Homecoming, includes Paulette Campbell’s own work as well as items she has collected over the years from Newfoundla­nd artists, her art students in Nunavut and Eastern European immigrants she worked with in the 1990s. Seen here is a hallway designated for her own work.
 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D ?? Art, carvings and artifacts from Nunavut are included in Campbell’s collection featured at The Gale in Port au Port East.
CONTRIBUTE­D Art, carvings and artifacts from Nunavut are included in Campbell’s collection featured at The Gale in Port au Port East.

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