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Studio 22 artists paint water colour depictions of Stephenville early year buildings

Judy Cantwell displays her water colour painting of a log barn, which was the property of Philip Gabriel and his great grandfather from 1941-42. It's one of 42 depictions of buildings taken from photos featured in "Back of the Pond" book.
Judy Cantwell displays her water colour painting of a log barn, which was the property of Philip Gabriel and his great grandfather from 1941-42. It's one of 42 depictions of buildings taken from photos featured in

Old photos from “Back of the Pond” are being given new life by the 10 artists of Studio22.

That’s because watercolour depictions by the artists’ of the houses, barns, sheds and even outhouses of the Acadian Village will be available on display at Stephenville’s Arts and Culture Centre from July 10 to Aug. 18, according to a prepared release from the exhibit organizers.

The artists of Studio 22 of Stephenville, under the leadership of their owner and instructor, Judy Cantwell, are presenting 42 works of art on the way of life of a simpler era when pioneers lived off the land and the forest, and self-reliance was the norm.

Descendants of the Benoit, Doucette, Cormier, Gabriel, Gallant, Gaudon, Hayes, LeBlanc, March and Russell families will be available to view and/or purchase paintings of their family homesteads as they looked in the first half of the 20th century.

The inspiration for the exhibit came from the self-published book “Back of the Pond” by author Mercedes Benoit-Penny, which contained a number of photos of many of the lost homesteads of the Acadian Village.

It was in the 1940s that a community of Acadians settled in the Stephenville area where they accounted for 95 per cent of the population of 1,300. Their homes and farms were expropriated to make way for the American air force base during the Second World War.

Descendants of generations of farmers, in their quest for arable land, scattered throughout Bay St. George, the Codroy Valley and the Port au Port Peninsula while others turned to employment at the American base.

The cohesiveness of their self-sufficient community was lost and assimilation into the larger English-speaking community resulted.

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