The Collection

The Gallery’s collection contains nearly 4000 works of art including paintings, photographs, prints, sculpture and multi-media work by established Canadian and International Artists.

The collection began with an initial group of approximately 300 predominantly European paintings, prints and drawings acquired in 1885 as a teaching collection for art students to study and copy.

A few significant gifts were made to the Owens’ collection in the 1940s but it wasn’t until the late 1960s when art classes were moved from the Gallery to an adjacent building that the focus shifted towards actively developing the Gallery’s collection.

While the entire collection is not on permanent view, works from the collection are often on view in exhibitions. Check our current and upcoming exhibitions calendar to learn more.

Collection Highlight

Loretta Gould
Prayers for Our Lost Children, 2021
acrylic on canvas

This work was commissioned in 2021 as the shameful story of Canada’s Residential School System continued to unfold. The painting serves as a poignant reminder of what Canada has stolen from Indigenous peoples and the ways in which this harm endures. At the same time, it underlines the vital continuity of Mi’kmaq art, culture, and spiritual practices, and the important role that women and children have played in maintaining this permanence.

The painting, which is currently installed outside the office of the Indigenous Affairs Coordinator, is part of a series of public artworks commissioned by the Indigenous Affairs Coordinator and the Owens.

Loretta Gould is a Mi’kmaq quilter and painter who loves bright, beautiful colours. A self-taught artist, she grew up in Waycobah First Nation where she later raised five children with her husband Elliot Gould. She began making a living through her art quilts but, when her sewing machine broke in 2013, she decided to try her hand at painting. She’s been painting ever since. Loretta’s dream is to share her art with the world. For her, art is a way to get her spiritual feelings on canvas. Please visit the artist’s website: www.mikmaq-artist.com/collections

From the vault