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Emily Carr: Canadian Artist

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Cynthia Chung

on 21 May 2015

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Transcript of Emily Carr: Canadian Artist

We dive into Emily Carr's past
Just a few of Carr's accomplishments and her legacy
Look at the earth crowded with growth, new and old bursting from their strong roots hidden in the silent, live ground, each seed according to its own kind... each one knowing what to do, each one demanding its own rights on the earth... So, artist, you too from the deeps of your soul... let your roots creep forth, gaining strength.
What was her life like?
How was she REWARDED?
$1.25
Monday, February 17, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
An Introduction
Who IS Emily Carr? We investigate.
How it ACTUALLY happened
The Death of Emily Carr
Emily Carr. Whether you have heard of her or not, was a brilliant Canadian artist. Born in Victoria, British Columbia, Carr grew up to become a iconic Canadian Modernist, Post-Impressionist artist and writer. Now mind you, this journey was not at all easy. Being a female at the time, everywhere you turned there was doubt about your abilities and what you were capable of. For example, Carr was never able to quit her day job as a landlady mainly because the undermining of women. She fell into a deep depression because of this, until she rediscovered the power of painting and finally gained recognition in all her hard work. Now, let's get on and learn about the life of this wonderful figure and how she came to be.
A person is like a machine, when brand new there are no flaws but problems will arise when it gets older and the parts start to fail. Emily Carr was indeed a normal human being and not immortal, so she started so her “parts” started to fail. It first started with arthritis and her bad knees, and soon many more problems arose. On January 1937, Emily had a heart attack and had to be rushed to the hospital. She would then after that suffer several strokes that would limit her ability to do all the things she loved. Eventually, Emily died from a clot on her heart. It was the afternoon of March 2, 1945 that the great Emily Carr had died. But even though she herself was dead, her influence, art, legacy, and story definitely didn’t.

T&C Times: Toronto Edition
To conclude...
Our Final Verdict on the Canadian Artist
Emily Carr House in Victoria, British Columbia
Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, British Columbia
Emily Carr Public Library in Victoria, British Columbia
Emily Carr Secondary School in Woodbridge, Ontario
Emily Carr Elementary School in Vancouver, British Columbia
Emily Carr Middle School in Ottawa, Ontario
Emily Carr public schools in London, Toronto and Oakville, Ontario
What was her INFLUENCE on Canada?
We take a closer look at her influence, BEFORE and AFTER death





Feminism, equalism. Those are two terms you will hear thrown around quite often in the present day. Modern-day feminism is currently quite the hype as a collection of groups and individuals actively work towards a shared goal of political, social, and economic right for all women. To be considered equal as men.

And that is one of the reasons that Emily Carr was so significant - one of the reasons that we chose Emily Carr as our subject - was that Carr grew up and lived in a time when women weren’t particularly appreciated. And even with the stigma that came with such a time, Carr managed to make herself known. Make herself somebody during a time when simply being anybody was indeed a difficult task.

Achieving a honourable reputation as a painter, writer, potter, illustrator, and textile artist, one could say that Emily was a pretty busy woman. But Emily Carr was more than simply all these titles -- she was a Canadian icon, and as many icons do, she had an effect.

"Emily Carr." Library and Archives Canada. October 2, 2000. Accessed April 14, 2015.
"History Evolution." Emily Carr University. 2015. Accessed April 14, 2015.
"Emily Carr." Timetoast. Accessed April 15, 2015.
"Emily Carr." The Canadian Encyclopedia. Accessed April 15, 2015.
Forster, Merna M. "Emily Carr: Chronology." Emily Carr Chronology. 2004. Accessed April 15, 2015.
"Emily Carr Chronology." Emily Carr Chronology. August 14, 1997. Accessed April 15, 2015.
"Feminism." Wikipedia. Accessed April 15, 2015.
"Paintings and Pictures." Emilycarr. Accessed April 16, 2015.
"Emily Carr." Wikipedia. Accessed April 16, 2015.
"Indigo." Indigo.ca. Accessed April 16, 2015.
Braid, Kate. "Emily Carr: A Rebel Artist" XYZ Publishing, 2000. Accessed April 12th 2015
http://bcheritage.ca/emilycarrhomework/family/img_fam/albem1s.gif
http://bcheritage.ca/emilycarrhomework/family/img_fam/albsib1.jpg
http://www.museevirtuel.ca/sgc-cms/expositions-exhibitions/emily_carr/data/images/BCA-c_05229_lge.jpg
http://www.artcountrycanada.com/images/Group-of-seven-artists.jpg
http://www.ecuad.ca/sites/www.ecuad.ca/files/pages/1/EC_JL_2010-447.jpg
http://images.glaciermedia.ca/polopoly_fs/1.83471.1362206128!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_563/vka-carr-295701-jpg.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/58/Emily_Carr_Gravestone.jpg




“The men resent a woman getting any honour in what they consider is essentially their field. Men painters mostly despise women painters. So I have decided to stop squirming, to throw any honour in with Canada and women."
- Emily Carr
As it’s clear to see, Emily Carr is known by many today. And how could she not, right? But, surprisingly, it is not exactly for her art or her literature, and Emily Carr has seemingly just become a household name.


Why? The answer would have to be in Carr's work. A lot of it had to do with the timing of all her paintings. Shining a light on Canadian west coast Aboriginal culture had helped raised awareness for the identification of the First Nations peoples and the recognition of their own self-made identities -- a raising awareness at the time of these painting’s popularity. Of course, no human is perfect and Emily Carr would be heavily denounced after her death for what was looked at as an “appropriation” of the Aboriginal culture through her paintings (particularly in the 1980s). And even though her paintings did have a focus on emphasizing her own relevance, it is can not be said that her paintings didn’t matter.

Not only did they shine light on Aboriginal issues, but they shined a light on Environmental issues. Like Tom Thomson and many of her peers, she rose awareness on a world where our own beautiful natural world was disappearing -- slowly but surely.

Whatever the reason Carr was remembered, at least she she was remembered as a national icon and important twentieth-century artist. Featured in many exhibitions and alongside many other great artists (such as Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe in the Places of Their Own exhibition of 2001-2002). Her artwork was also featured in dOCUMENTA (13), a recognized and prestigious showcase held in Kassel, Germany every five years.


So what did we learn? That Emily Carr was important? Well no, we already knew that. But what we did learn was the history and life of an empowering female like Carr definitely wasn't easy. It took a certain type of character, personality, and definitely lots of patience and perseverance. Emily taught us to fight for what we believe in and to never give up -- even if you are considered a weird, the odd one out of the bunch. Because eventually, your hard work pay off, and who knows? Maybe you'll be the next Emily Carr. As Emily says...
will
Shall we begin?
Institutions named after Emily Carr
Extra, Extra!
Excited for a little more fun?
Bibliography
Some of her works
Emily Carr's painting career ended with the beginning of her writing career. Once again with a focus on her experiences with Aboriginal People, Carr wrote her first book
Klee Wyck
. Proven to be perhaps as great as a writer as she was an artist, Klee Wyck won Carr the Governor's General Award for non-fiction (as well as just being recognized as an acclaimed novel.)

Many other great and current writers have written about Carr and her life as both a painter and a writer. Some of these books would be:

Emily Carr: At the Edge of the World by Jo Ellen Boggart
The Art of Emily Carr by Doris Shadbolt
Governor General's Award and more

Emily Carr was born on December 13th, 1971 in Victoria, British Columbia to Richard and Emily Carr. It was said that Emily was always stubborn, as when her mother went into labour she “refused” to come out. Emily was the second youngest of nine children. The three older boys had all unfortunately died so this resulted in a 20 year age gap with what she called “the Big Family” that included her sisters Edith and Clara, and the “Little Family” which consisted of Emily, Lizzie, Alice, and the youngest child Dick. Dick, later on, would die of tuberculosis at a young age due to the fact that he was always very weak and unhealthy.

The father, Richard Carr, was born in England and when he made money enough money as a gold prospector and businessman in California, he wanted to retire. However after being on such an adventure, Richard didn’t want to go back to familiar and boring England. His solution of this would be that he would come to what is now Canada as it would allow him to continue on his English lifestyle and citizenship, and because he overall preferred the English ways and considered it the “finest on the earth”. He moved to Canada in 1863 with his wife and two daughters Edith and Clara. After moving to Canada, Richard Carr set up a successful grocery and liquor store on Wharf Street within a year.

Her mother was a very small, quiet woman and was quite shy with even her own children. She had grey eyes, dark hair, and cheeks that Emily Carr described as always being pink. The pink cheeks were probably the result of often fevers. She was regularly sick and was very weak. Her father on the other hand was the opposite. He was described as fierce, cranky, and very strict. He however, favoured Emily and usually asked for her company while tending to his plants in the backyard that he treasured very much. This would all change however when she was 12 years old, and her father explained to her the concept of sex and reproduction. It still isn’t clear as to what happened, but Emily was then on disgusted of her father and her love for her father would change.

The Carr family lived at 207 Government Street. Today, the house there has been renovated to replicated what the house looked like when Emily was living there. The house overall was a very lavish, English styled home. This pointed to the fact that Richard Carr was the designer of the house, and organized what the house would look like.

The Carr family was very religious, and thus all the children were raised with a very religious teaching. The family had daily prayers, and Bible readings. There was also Sunday school taught by Edith (whom Emily nicknamed Dede). In the evenings, Richard Carr would test all the children by telling them to recite the morning sermon to see how much they remembered.
A "little" bit of history
British Columbia mountains

“It is not all bad, this getting old, ripening. After the fruit has got its growth it should juice up and mellow. God forbid I should live long enough to ferment and rot and fall to the ground in a squash.”
Emily Carr
Dede, Lizzie, and Alice would always remember and Emily, always forget. But there was something Emily did that all her sisters couldn’t as well; she could paint. One day she drew the family’s pet dog, and showed her family. They all agreed that it was pretty good. Her father seemed very alarmed by this (it was said that he just looked at the drawing over his newspaper and said “Um!”). This drawing was later on found in her father’s papers, with his comment “By Emily, aged eight”. She continued on to excel in all the art classes she attended in her childhood.

Although young Emily was certainly gifted in art, she had no patience, was very stubborn, and was often in trouble. She usually bothered and annoyed the Carr’s neighbours Mr. and Mrs. Crane. She would often stay over at their house when her mother was too sick. She once dosed Mrs. Crane’s chicken with castor oil as she thought the chicken “looked as if she wasn’t feeling well”. This love for animals would continue onto her later life.

When Emily was 14 years old, her mother died of tuberculosis, and her father would also die two years after that. The children were then put under the guardianship of lawyer James Lawson, and the daily care was left to Edith to care for. Edith ruled and taught the children as strictly as their father did. Emily resented this and would often rebel against Edith and she grew increasingly angry at her family. The reason why was unclear, but at the age of 18 Emily Carr decided to start pursuing her art career and went to the San Francisco to study art, and to also get away from her family.

Edith at first didn’t like this idea, but then later on agreed as Emily leaving would give her the peace and quiet that she wanted for such a long time. Edith didn’t let Emily just be at San Francisco by herself, so she put her under the supervision of the Piddingtons, who were previous neighbours of Emily Carr. She set sailed and arrived in the late summer of 1890 with only her old straw suitcase, and a birdcage holding her pet canary, Dick.

The art school Emily attended was called the California School of Design. Emily didn’t quite like the school and the school itself and also didn’t like the environment. However, she was learning more and because of this she stayed. Emily’s nickname in San Francisco was “Dummy”, as she was very young emotionally, and was extremely shy. She couldn’t stand the thought of Life Classes and having to paint a nude model. Back in her boarding house, Mrs. Piddington always kept an eye on her, as she didn’t quite trust Emily. Mrs. Piddington often sent letters to the Carr sisters back in Victoria, and because of certain unknown reasons, the sisters moved to San Francisco to live with Emily for a year, much to her dismay. Her experience at the art school also was getting worse. Her teacher’s critiques and suggestions to her were only “Scrape, re-paint!”. She wouldn’t have to deal with this much longer though, as her guardian told her that she had played at art long enough, and that it was time to come home. So after three years in San Francisco, Emily returned to Victoria.

Upon returning, she realized that not much had really changed. Her sisters were still extremely overprotective and critical of her. Although Emily knew this was out of love, she was still often mad at them. Carr eventually found at job at the YWCA ( Young Women’s Christian Association), and there, Emily taught art but it was very hard to do so as the room was way too dark. So, Emily asked her Edith if she could teach there. Edith finally agreed, although reluctant to do so.

In the summer of 1898, Emily went aboard the Willipa to go to Ucluelet with her sister Lizzie. It was here where she developed her interest and fondness for the Indigenous. It was also on this trip where someone developed a particular interest in her. The ship’s purser William “Mayo” Paddon soon became a very frequent visit in the Carr house. They soon became close, and he proposed for marriage, more than once in fact. But Emily, not wanting marriage, declined every single time.

In 1899, Emily Carr traveled to London to visit her aunt, Amelia Green. They met up at Easton station in the middle of London during a blazing hot summer. Emily had never seen such a big city, and being the country girl she is, she was terribly homesick and missed all the trees and wilderness. Very soon, Emily decided to register at the Westminster School of Arts located behind Westminster Abbey. Emily only choose to study at England instead of her dream location of France because there would be no language barrier, and because her sisters would have less resistance if she went to the “old country” of England than to the “foreignness” of France. In England, Emily often felt left out due to the fact that the fellow Londoners saw her as a mere shabby colonial, and since class was a big thing in London at the time, Emily was frowned upon. This obviously made her feel very unwelcome and uncomfortable. Also, English art was very traditional and the school was not up to date with all the modern art, and this made Emily not enjoy this experience even more. Although she didn’t like London very much, she did make new friends. Her best friend was Mrs. Redden.Mrs. Redden was very open with her opinions and often urged Mayo to keep proposing, but once she saw how this affected Emily she stopped and told him to go away. He did.

All of this pressure with the art in the School, feeling homesick, and with the feeling of unwelcomeness, Emily soon couldn’t take it anymore. On January 12, 1903, Lizzie (as she came to visit after hearing Emily’s condition) took Emily to the East Anglia Sanatorium for treatment and then returned to Canada alone. In the Sanatorium, Emily was given lots of food, massage, and electrical treatments everyday. The doctors had told her that she had an “allergy” to large cities and told her to not go to big cities. Emily would be there for a good eighteen months, and although she had animals (the birds, the chipmunks, and the mice as pets) to keep on company, she desperately wanted to go home. And so, on June 1904 she boarded a ship and went home.


When she arrived home, things were not ideal for her there either. Most of her childhood friends were gone, all her sisters were busy, and although she was hired to teach at the Vancouver Ladies’ Art Club, things did not go well there either. One thing that kept her happy was that she decided to start a teaching school of her own. This did go very well and was one of the only things that kept her happy. Another thing that she did was that she and Alice would often take a cruise/ferry to the Indigenous communities for so that she would be able to paint. She would continue doing this for years to come, but more frequently by herself than with Alice.

In 1908, Emily was a founding member of the British Columbia Society of Fine Arts. Once again, Emily had developed a reputation for being a bit odd. This was starting to become her reputation. Although she was very odd, people were starting to appreciate her work. Vancouver art critics praised her work, but Emily wasn’t happy with this. She wanted more, and to learn more. And so she decided, after saving enough money from her teaching, to go to Paris where the real art was taking place. Alice would go with her as her translator, and they arrived in Paris in August 1910.

When Emily arrived in Paris, she went to see fellow artist Harry Gibb and was shocked at the way he painted his “modern” paintings. But as shocked as she was, she was so inspired by all the bold colours and all the abstract elements of it. She wanted to paint like this, and thus Harry Gibb recommended her to go to the Académie Colarossi where artists like Van Gogh and Matisse had studied. Another plus was that this was a school where women and men could work together. and Emily liked this very much. She eventually grew to like Paris, and Gibb became a close friend of hers. He loved the way she painted and the two would often meet up to criticize and paint with each other. Another painter she would meet in Paris would be Frances Hodgkins. She was the one that would really spark Emily’s passion for “modern” art. However everything must have an ending and in the fall of 1911, she returned to British Columbia.


When she arrived home, things were not ideal for her there either. Most of her childhood friends were gone, all her sisters were busy, and although she was hired to teach at the Vancouver Ladies’ Art Club, things did not go well there either. One thing that kept her happy was that she decided to start a teaching school of her own. This did go very well and was one of the only things that kept her happy. Another thing that she did was that she and Alice would often take a cruise/ferry to the Indigenous communities for so that she would be able to paint. She would continue doing this for years to come, but more frequently by herself than with Alice.

In 1908, Emily was a founding member of the British Columbia Society of Fine Arts. Once again, Emily had developed a reputation for being a bit odd. This was starting to become her reputation. Although she was very odd, people were starting to appreciate her work. Vancouver art critics praised her work, but Emily wasn’t happy with this. She wanted more, and to learn more. And so she decided, after saving enough money from her teaching, to go to Paris where the real art was taking place. Alice would go with her as her translator, and they arrived in Paris in August 1910.

When Emily arrived in Paris, she went to see fellow artist Harry Gibb and was shocked at the way he painted his “modern” paintings. But as shocked as she was, she was so inspired by all the bold colours and all the abstract elements of it. She wanted to paint like this, and thus Harry Gibb recommended her to go to the Académie Colarossi where artists like Van Gogh and Matisse had studied. Another plus was that this was a school where women and men could work together. and Emily liked this very much. She eventually grew to like Paris, and Gibb became a close friend of hers. He loved the way she painted and the two would often meet up to criticize and paint with each other. Another painter she would meet in Paris would be Frances Hodgkins. She was the one that would really spark Emily’s passion for “modern” art. However everything must have an ending and in the fall of 1911, she returned to British Columbia.

Quiet, 1942
Emily Carr Forest 1, 1928
Forest Landscape, 1931
Stumps and Sky, 1934
Shoreline, 1936
Kitwancool, 1928
Upon returning to Victoria, Emily felt stronger both physically and emotionally. But not many appreciated her work and often criticized it, much to Emily’s dismay. She was sadden by that but not discouraged. She painted many paintings and drew many drawings, and eventually hoped that the government would buy them. This did not happen however, and this became yet another reason why Emily thought that she was not capable. She decided to buy a small boarding house at 646 Simcoe Street and at aged 42, became a landlady. She loathed this job, but she had to in order to support herself. She did make the occasional “Indian” pottery to sell to make more money. It was also in this time period that she was seen as even more “eccentric” as before. She started having more and more animals around her, and in 1921 she would buy a monkey called Woo and have Woo keep her company. This went on until August 1927, when everything was about to change. She became closely related to the Group of Seven and they would to influence her art. They also encouraged her to go to the “wilderness of the forest” to paint and to let the wildness to influence her. She started gaining more and more recognition for her work. But this happiness and excitement won’t last as in 1936, Lizzie died of breast cancer, and in January 1937 Emily had a heart attack and had to be rushed to the hospital.

Emily would soon have many more problems with her health to come, and would eventually not be able to paint. Devastated Emily turned to writing to pass her time, and she eventually enjoyed this. She started writing many books, but art was still her greatest passion. Emily also suffered from several strokes and this limited her ability to write too. She eventually died of a clot on her heart on the afternoon of March 2, 1945. But although she herself had died, her influence and art would never and her legacy and story would be told for years to come.

Emily Carr, age 5
The Carr Sisters
Emily Carr with her pets, 1918
The Group of Seven was closely associated with Emily Carr.
Emily Carr University of Art and Design located in Victoria, British Columbia.
Emily Carr Public Library located in Victoria, British Columbia
The Grave of Emily Carr, located in Victoria, British Columbia
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