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Tribute to brother on display at art gallery

Family photograph of James Allen Masters, with a carved owl.

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Family photograph of James Allen Masters, with a carved owl. (COURTESY OF DOUG MASTERS)

A loving tribute to an ailing brother’s passion for carving birds out of wood will be on display at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba’s Community Gallery this month.

Doug Masters, a local high school teacher, brought the collection of life-size eagles and an osprey to the Art Gallery’s attention last month. His brother, James Allen Masters, spent years carving the majestic creatures out of wood that he had collected, dried and split. The exhibition includes seven of the large carvings, alongside family photographs and pieces of an eagle that James had begun to carve but did not finish. The exhibition is free and open to the public until March 8.

"It has been a wonderful experience to be able to contribute to a brother’s journey of remembrance and grief," says Natalia Lebedinskaia, the curator of the AGSM. "It really shows how art and creativity is such an incredibly important part of life."

A welder by trade, James Masters spent thousands of hours carving the birds based on photographs. While he was living and working in Thompson at International Nickel, the relative seclusion allowed him to develop this remarkably personal body of work that he only shared with his close family. Currently, James is spending the last weeks of his life in palliative care, afflicted by an inoperable brain tumour. This exhibition is his brother’s way of celebrating a lifetime commitment to individual craftsmanship. 

The exhibition will be open to the public until March 8th, 2013. The two exhibitions in the Main Gallery will continue until March 16: Howie Tsui's "Friendly Fire" and Chris Reid’s "I like to believe I am telling the truth."

The gallery is located at 710 Rosser Ave., and can be accessed either from the Town Centre parkade, or from the first floor of the Town Centre through the elevators near the library. It is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursday evenings until 9 p.m., and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. They are closed Sundays and Mondays.

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