Past Exhibitions

Graduate Self Portraits

Dan Steeves, I can't let it distract me


Bachelor of Fine Arts Diploma work

12 May - 24 August 2017

From the 1940s until the mid 1960s, Mount Allison University students in Fine Arts were required to paint a self-portrait in their 4th year, and to submit it as their ‟Diploma Piece” in order to receive the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. The portraits were to be executed in oil, on canvas or board, measuring 40” x 30”, and were to be life-sized.

The tradition of self-portraits as diploma pieces changed in 1965, when the Gairdner Fine Arts Building was opened. After 1965, diploma pieces included all media, such as the work by Herménégilde Chiasson.

Diploma pieces remained as an important Archive of the Fine Arts Department, and are now permanently housed in the Owens Art Gallery. The collection consists of approximately 50 self-portraits and 100 diploma pieces in other media.

Each year, in celebration of Spring Convocation and Alumni Reunion Weekend, we display diploma work from those alumni years being honoured. This year, we present selections from the Classes of 1972, 1962, 1952, 1947 and 1942.

Top Image: Installation photo of self-portraits

Bottom Image: Herménégilde Chiasson, Untitled, 1972, mixed media on plywood

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