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Moncton artist Finton Wade opens exhibit at Musée Acadien

by Sue Gallant

Finton WadeFinton Wade of Moncton is a man who quite obviously enjoys life. He smiles and laughs a lot. The man’s sunny disposition is utterly contagious. Wade is a proud Acadian; a retired elementary school teacher; a musician; singer/songwriter; and a visual artist with an undisguised passion for Acadian history.

An exhibition of Wade’s work, entitled Exile and Return, opened recently at the Acadian Museum in Miscouche. It is Wade’s first visual art exhibit ever and runs until July 31. At the well-attended exhibition opening, Wade gave a loud, live performance of music and song that was intimately intertwined with fifteen of the sixteen works of art displayed on the walls in the room.

Wade first began writing the music in 1977 as part of a mini-opera celebrating Acadian history and years later became inspired to paint the images in his minds eye. He set about producing the sixteen paintings that go to make up Exile and Return. He did the work at astonishing speed, over a period of approximately five weeks, commencing August 2003. All the images are 61 x 61cms on presswood, using oil, pastel and crayon. They explore Acadian culture and history; specifically the Acadian expulsion by the British, centuries ago.

Wade then wrote a further eight songs, making a total of fifteen, each one about a separate painting in the collection. There is one song still left to be written. “I am going to ask another Acadian to compose that,” Wade told The Buzz.

Wade likes to share his passion out, and just cannot quite shake off the teacher thing. “I am a teacher,” he says, smiling broadly and shrugging his shoulders by way of explanation.

Exile and Return is a lively display. This writer would like to hear Wade’s music playing in the same room the paintings are hung, until July 31st when the exhibition ends. The two belong together, long after the artist will have returned to home shores.

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