News at the University of New Brunswick

UNB Fredericton unveils re-created mural

Author: Communications

Posted on Jun 27, 2011

Category: UNB Fredericton , myUNB

Art history will be made on Monday, June 27, when the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton unveils a re-created mural by renowned Canadian artist Fred Ross. The original two-panel mural, Destruction of War and Rebuilding the World Through Education, was completed in 1948 as a memorial to the Fredericton High School graduates who died in the Second World War.  The monumental 16-by-20-foot painting was tragically lost or destroyed after being removed from the school auditorium in the 1950s. “Seldom, if ever, does one get a second chance like this,” said Dr. Ross, who holds an honorary doctor of laws degree from UNB.  “I’m not aware of any other work in Canada, or anywhere else in the world, that has been resurrected in this way.” The re-created mural now hangs in the performance court of The Richard J. CURRIE CENTER, a major new recreational and ceremonial facility on the Fredericton campus. “Universities should support public art,” said Richard Currie, UNB’s chancellor and its greatest living benefactor.  “Fred Ross’s mural is an outstanding example of public art and will be accessible to everyone who attends or participates in an event at the Currie Center.” “It is truly fitting that a significant work of art by a celebrated Canadian artist should have a place of prominence in this landmark building,” said Eddy Campbell, UNB president and vice-chancellor. “The spectacular architecture and imposing painting complement each other beautifully.  It is also a tribute to our history. The original Academy of Arts and Science created in 1785 included the institutions we now know as Fredericton High School and the University of New Brunswick. This building that is so important to our future will also honour our past.” The mural depicts a cautionary tale, contrasting two sides of human endeavour:  the wasteful devastation of war and the promise of peace and progress through education.  Over both panels hangs the threat of nuclear conflagration. Though it was originally painted more than 60 years ago, its message continues to be relevant today. The mural was re-created by three New Brunswick artists—Amy Ash, Sara Griffin and Fred Willar—working under the direction of Fred Ross.  Although only black-and-white photos of the original remain, the artists had access to Dr. Ross’s full-scale drawings, which did survive and are held in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada. The $125,000 project, which took six months to complete, was supported by a $50,000 grant from the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation and contributions from numerous other donors, including Dr. Currie and the J.T. Clark Family Foundation. About the artists: A native and lifetime resident of Saint John, Fred Ross painted the original mural between 1946 and 1948, completing it on his 21st birthday.  The $700 commission he earned enabled him to visit Mexico, where he viewed the works of Diego Rivera, Frieda Kahlo and other acclaimed muralists. During the course of his long, prolific and distinguished career Dr. Ross has painted six murals, countless portraits and numerous other figurative works.  His paintings have been included in more than 80 solo and group exhibitions and are held in collections across North America.  Dr. Ross is a member of the Order of Canada, the Order of New Brunswick and the Royal College of Art. Amy Ash holds a bachelor of fine arts from Mount Allison University and a bachelor of education from the University of New Brunswick.  She is a member of the Third Space Gallery and is outreach co-ordinator of the Saint John Arts Centre.  Her work is exhibited at the Ingrid Mueller Gallery in downtown Fredericton. Sara Griffin, who served as studio manager for the mural project, is a graduate of the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design and holds a bachelor of education from UNB.  Her wide-ranging experience includes mural painting, print making and teaching portfolio students at the Saint John Arts Centre. Fred Willar, who was a student of Fred Ross at Saint John Vocational School in the 1950s, is an accomplished painter and muralist in his own right.  Two of his murals can be seen in the library and the cafeteria at Harbourview High School in Saint John. For more information, contact: Jennifer Gavin Communications and Marketing University of New Brunswick 506-453-4990 (o) 506-238-0969 (c)