Canadian Folk Art Outdoors

O Canada

Flags, as well as national symbols such as beavers and maple-leaves - and even well-known politicians - appear in the corpus of outdoor folk art. While it is clear that heartfelt patriotism may have inspired such pieces, in most cases, it is equally apparent that a certain twinkle in the eye of the creator contributed to the finished product.

Trudeau and Stanfield - Photo: H. Foster Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Robert Stanfield
Collins Eisenhauer
Union Square, Nova Scotia
CCFCS 75-913; 75-914

Originally, Mr. Eisenhauer carved four life-size politicians to appear on a parade float in New Germany, Nova Scotia. Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau sat opposite Conservative Leader Robert Stanfield at a card-table, and the federal New Democratic Party Leader David Lewis stood between them, opposite Gerald Regan, Premier of Nova Scotia. After the parade, they were retired to his front yard, where they were much photographed. At the time, the four politicians together made a strong national statement for Mr. Eisenhauer, and for their viewers.

Trudeau's faded plastic rose, and Stanfield's famous banana (television crews caught him peeling a banana when he was unexpectedly called upon to accept the leadership at the Progressive Conservative Convention) reveal Mr. Eisenhauer's wicked sense of humour. The two politicians have been very popular additions to national collections since they first appeared in the ground-breaking Art Gallery of Nova Scotia folk art exhibition in 1976.

Beaver Biting Maple-Leaf
Maker unknown
L'Assomption, Quebec
Date unknown
CCFCS 77-1045
Beaver - CD94-681-006 - S89-1508

The beaver has long been respected as a Canadian symbol of industry because of the success of the fur trade and the animal's reputation for perseverance and hard work. Combine this respect with the national sentiment surrounding the maple-leaf, and the fierce patriotism behind this piece is immediately apparent. It is, in addition, a beautifully executed weather-vane: here is an example of outdoor folk art at its best.


This Other Eden
Canadian Folk Art Outdoors


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