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Ronnie Tessler

  • Pessoa
  • 1944-

Ronnie Evelyn Tessler was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1944 and has resided in Vancouver, B.C. since 1968. She attended the University of Manitoba, the Manitoba Institute of Technology, the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, the University of Victoria, and Simon Fraser University, where she received a Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies in 2006. Tessler became a documentary photographer in 1973, working on various photographic projects and exhibiting her work in Canada and the United States until 1990. Her artwork resides in a number of public collections, including the National Archives of Canada, the Canada Council Art Bank, and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. In 1990, Tessler became the first executive director of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, and was instrumental in its development into a fully-staffed facility with a museum, archives, and education and resource centre. Since 1996, she has worked as an independent project consultant and editor for cultural arts groups in B.C.

A.F.R. Wollaston

  • Pessoa
  • 1875-1930

Alexander Frederick Richmond Wollaston (1875-1930) was a doctor, naturalist, explorer, and member of the Royal Geographical Society in London. A.F.R. Wollaston went on numerous expeditions between 1905-1925, including trips to Uganda, the Congo, Dutch New Guinea, and Mt. Everest. A.F.R. Wollaston was killed on June 3, 1930 at King’s College in Cambridge, England.

Evelyn Goddard

  • Pessoa

Born Evelyn Sheasgreen, Evelyn Goddard was a young teacher in Kitzegukla, BC in the early 1920s.

Beatrice Pilon

  • Pessoa
  • Unknown

Beatrice ‘Beatty’ Pilon worked in Chengtu, Szechwan, China in the late 1940s and made a month-long trip into Tibet by horseback in 1948. Some objects Pilon purchased while in Tibet were later donated to the Museum of Anthropology.

Nadia Abu-Zahra

  • Pessoa
  • n.d.

Nadia Abu-Zahra was appointed an anthropologist in the Anthropology/Sociology Department of the University of British Columbia by Director Cyril Belshaw in the late 1960s or early 1970s. She graduated from Oxford with a PhD in social anthropology, and later lived and taught at Oxford.

Robert Reford

  • Pessoa
  • 1867-1951

Robert W. Reford was the heir to the Reford shipping and navigation business. In 1889 he journeyed from Montreal to British Columbia in order to assist with his family’s business there. He stayed in the province until 1891. Though centered in Victoria, Reford made several trips along the coast of British Columbia, into the interior and in to the Arctic. Reford was an amateur photographer and while in British Columbia he took a large number of photos, both of his acquaintances and of the local scenery and inhabitants.

Fred Ryckman

  • Pessoa
  • 1888-1935

Fred Ryckman was born in eastern Canada in 1888. As a youth he moved with his family to the Kootenay region of British Columbia where he remained for the rest of his life, residing first in Creston then in Cranbrook. In 1912 Ryckman began his career with the Department of Indian Affairs serving as a constable in that department. During this period he also served in the position of Indian Farm Instructor. In 1931 Ryckman was promoted to the position of Indian Agent, a post he was to hold until his death in 1935. During the twenty-three years of his employment with the Department of Indian Affairs, Ryckman took an active interest in the language and culture of the people with whom he was working, a fact which is reflected in his papers.

Virginia Small

  • Pessoa

No biographical information available.

Harry M. Small

  • Pessoa

No biographical information available.

Harlan Smith

  • Pessoa
  • 1872-1940

Harlan Ingersoll Smith was born in 1872 in East Saginaw, Michigan. He joined the Geological Survey of Canada as head of the Archaeology Division (now part of the Canadian Museum of Civilization) in 1911. His early work concentrated on excavating archaeological sites in Eastern Canada, and on Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands. Returning to British Columbia in 1920, Smith began ethnographic fieldwork among the Bella Coola (including the Nuxalk, Carrier and Chilcotin communities), concentrating on their use of plant and animal materials, social organization and ritual traditions. Smith was also a pioneering ethnographic filmmaker and photographer documenting Plains, Plateau and Northwest Coast Aboriginal people. He wrote and published many articles throughout his career. Smith retired from the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 1936 and died in 1940.

Rita B. Steeds

  • Pessoa
  • 1918-

Rita Steeds (nee Pollock) was born in 1918 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. She attended business college in Regina and worked in the field of accounting between 1938 and 1955. In 1943, she married James Steeds and moved to Ottawa. She completed training in 1962 to become a medical records librarian. Between 1962 and 1964, she worked as a medical records librarian at the Ottawa Civic Hospital and the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital (London, England). She functioned as the Director of the Medical Records Department of Kingston General Hospital in Kingston, Ontario between 1964 and 1969. From 1969 to 1973, she was Director of the Medical Records Department and the Head of Medical Records Librarian Training at Severance Hospital in Seoul, South Korea. After completing this appointment, she served as a consultant at Silliman University Medical Centre at Dumguetl, Island of Negros, in the Philippines between 1973 and 1976. Prior to her retirement in 1980, Steeds worked as the Head of Medical Records at Wrinch Memorial Hospital, Hazelton, B.C. Rita Steeds is the author of several publications related to medical records in addition to her autobiography, Woman Not Alone.

William McLennan

  • Pessoa
  • 1948 -

William (Bill) McLennan was born in Vancouver on October 4, 1948. He received a degree in Arts and Merchandising from Vancouver City College and upon graduation, worked for the City of Vancouver, the MacMillan Planetarium, and Vancouver Centennial Museum, all in the area of exhibit and graphic design. In 1975, McLennan began to work at the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) on a contract to photograph the presentation of the visible storage system. In 1976, he became a permanent staff member at the Museum.

His initial responsibilities included exhibit design, graphic design, photography, teaching, and research. In these capacities McLennan held the responsibility of photographing collections at various stages, as well as photographing events and the physical building and exhibition spaces. Being a designer entailed working with curators and artists on exhibits, designing labels, brochures and memorabilia sold in the gift shop. His teaching responsibilities included working with students who interned under his supervision during the school year, giving classes on photography and design to students taking museum studies courses and giving lectures of Northwest Coast painting and photography. In 1993 he began to curate exhibits, McLennan’s first exhibit as curator was The Transforming Image after his discovery through extensive research that infrared film could reveal Northwest coast paintings that had disappeared under the patina of age. In 2001 he officially became a curator/project manager in addition to continuing work in the graphic design department. In addition to these duties, McLennan performed contract work for various museums.

In 1979, McLennan won the Certificate of Design Excellence for exhibit design for Print Magazine Casebooks. In 1983, he received a Canada Council Grant, followed by a BC Heritage grant in 1984 and 85, to research the possibilities of using infrared film to reveal Northwest Coast paintings that had faded with time. This research was interrupted in 1986 when McLennan took a one-year leave of absence from the Museum to work for Expo ’86 as a member of the exhibits team. In 1987, he received a planning and development grant from the Museums Assistance Program in order to develop his previous research on infrared painted images into an exhibit and book. This exhibit came to fruition in 1993 and was called ‘The Transforming Image’ from which a book was published by the same name which won the Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Canadian Museums Association in 2001. He also received a Certificate of Merit from the British Columbia Historical Federation for this book.

McLennan was also the recipient of the President’s Service Award for Excellence from the University of British Columbia in 1995 and the British Columbia Museums Associations Award of Merit for “The Respect to Bill Reid Pole” in 2002.

In 2010, McLennan curated an exhibit displaying the works of Charles and Isabella Edenshaw titled ‘Signed Without Signature: Works by Charles and Isabella Edenshaw’. This exhibit used 3D imaging technology to show the patterns on 3D objects in a flat undistorted perspective.

McLennan retired from MOA on October 31, 2013.

Victor Othello dos Remedios

  • Pessoa
  • 1893-1981

Victor Othello dos Remedios was born in Macau in 1893. He spent most of his life in Shanghai, China until 1951. He was trained as an accountant and worked for most of his adult years at the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank of Commerce and at an American-owned pulp and paper mill. He married his first wife at the age of twenty-four and had a son who developed polio and was sent to Switzerland for schooling and health care. He married again at about the age of forty and had a daughter in 1938. At age fourteen he registered in the Shanghai Volunteer Corps and served until 1942 when war broke out. He took photographs of two bombing incidents in Shanghai in the 30s as a member of the Corps. In 1942, Victor along with his wife Valentina and daughter Elizabeth were interned at one of many of the camps set up by the occupying Japanese forces in Shanghai for expatriates. They were released in April 1945 and had no place to live as their house was occupied by Korean allies of the Japanese, so they remained for another year in the camp.
The family eventually repossessed their home and Victor resumed work at his previous job as a manager of the pulp and paper mill. With the impending threat of invasion by the recently formed Red Army, his wife and daughter were sent to Hong Kong to live with relatives. Victor stayed in Shanghai until he had trained a Chinese replacement to manage the mill. In 1950, he was able to join his family and after a short stay in Hong Kong the family immigrated to Canada. In 1981, Victor passed away in a care facility in Victoria, BC. As of March 2014, his wife Valentina still lives in Victoria.

Alan R. Sawyer

  • 13
  • Pessoa
  • 1919-2002

Dr. Alan R. Sawyer was born on June 18, 1919, in Wakefield Massachusetts. He completed his undergraduate degree at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, graduating with a Bachelors of Science in 1941, majoring in Geology and minoring in Physics and Chemistry. After the United States joined the Second World War, Sawyer enlisted in the US Army as 1st Lieutenant in 1942. Once the War was over, he separated from the army in 1946. In that same year, Sawyer married Erika Heininger and they later had five children together.

From 1946 to 1948, Sawyer completed his first graduate degree at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. While he studied subjects such as painting, drawing, and art history, Sawyer conducted research in Mayan art. During intersession and summer sessions, Sawyer also took courses in art history and anthropology at the Boston University College of Liberal Arts Graduate School. In 1948, Sawyer began his second graduate degree in art history at Harvard University. He graduated with his Masters in 1949 and although he was recommended as a Ph.D candidate, he did not pursue a doctorate degree.

Upon graduating from Harvard, Sawyer was hired as an instructor for the Art Department at the Texas State College for Women in Denton, Texas where he taught courses in art history and studio art. It was there that Sawyer became interested in pre-Columbian art of the Americas, and he arranged an exhibit of that art from the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at the Texas State College.

In 1952, Sawyer was hired as an Assistant to the Curator of Decorative Arts at the Art Institute of Chicago. He later rose to the rank of Curator of Primitive Art in 1956. In that same year, Sawyer became the director of the Park Forest Art Center, a small art museum located in Park Forest, a small town located outside of Chicago. In addition to his roles at the Art Institute and at the Art Center, Sawyer taught courses in primitive art at the University of Chicago and Notre Dame University from 1954-1959.

In 1959, Sawyer became the Director at the Textile Museum in Washington DC, where he stayed until 1971. While there, Sawyer made significant additions to the pre-Columbian textiles collection. In addition to his director role, Sawyer also made several trips to Peru in order to carry out fieldwork assignments, including several aerial surveys and a stratigraphic excavation in the Inca Valley. In 1975, Sawyer became a professor of Indigenous American Art at the University of British Columbia, where he remained until 1985.

In addition to his official roles, Sawyer also participated in several additional professional activities. In 1964, he served as a guide for the Brooklyn Museum Members’ Tour of Archaeological Sites in Peru. From 1964-1968, Sawyer served as the Curator of the Master Craftsmen of Ancient Peru Exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. He made several trips to Peru where he selected and negotiated loans for the Ancient Peru Exhibit with the Peruvian government. In 1968-1969, Sawyer taught as an adjunct professor at Columbia University, teaching courses in art and archaeology.

Although his main area of interest lay in Pre-Columbian art, Sawyer became interested in the artifacts and the art of First Nations communities of British Columbia and Alaska, specifically those living on the Northwest Coast. In the late 1970s – early 1980s, Sawyer received a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to discern the provenance of and to determine the approximate dates of undocumented NWC masks and other artifacts housed in museums in North America and in Europe. Sawyer also traveled to several First Nation villages located on British Columbia’s and Alaska’s northwest coast where he photographed the villages’ totem poles and log cabins Although he never published his findings as intended, Sawyer used his large slide collection as a teaching aid in his art classes at UBC.

In 1969, in recognition of Sawyer’s achievements, his alma mater, Bates College, awarded Sawyer a honourary doctorate degree. He died in Vancouver, BC on January 31, 2002.

Anne Williams

  • 24
  • Pessoa
  • 1978

Anne Melita Williams was a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology.

Bertram Charles (B.C.) Binning

  • Pessoa
  • 1909 - 1976

Bertram Charles (B.C.) Binning was born on February 10, 1909 in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Due to an illness at a young age, he spent much of his time drawing in seclusion. His passion for art and architecture resulted in his enrolment in 1927 at the-then Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts. After spending time in the United States, in 1933 Binning was appointed to a staff position with the Vancouver School of Art. Later in 1938, B.C. Married Jessie Wyllie, the daughter of a Vancouver businessman. In 1949, he was transferred to the University Of British Columbia School Of Architecture. Soon after, he founded the Department of Fine Arts at UBC, which he headed for over twenty-five years.

With his appointment to the department of Fine Arts came a shift in his artistic direction.  Whereas pre-1948 he had established himself as an internationally recognized architect, post-1948 he felt himself drawn towards expressing his creativity in oil painting.  Building upon his architectural background, Binning often painted large complementary mosaic murals for various buildings and was particularly inspired by ships, marinas and seascapes in general; these were recurring themes for most of his artistic life.

The Binnings took the first of many visits to Japan in 1958. It was there that B.C. felt particularly inspired by the Japanese art and architecture he witnessed; these were a vehicle for a new and lengthy direction for his future work. While in Japan, B.C. and Jessie forged a deep relationship with Bishop Kojo Sakamoto (1875-1969), the 37th Superintendent Priest of the Kiyoshi Kojin Seicho-ji temple. A skilled calligrapher, Sakamoto’s work was influenced by colleague and friend Tomioka Tessai (1836-1924), a talented painter and calligrapher in his own right. The Binnings’ relationship with Sakamoto resulted in over a decade of frequent correspondence between Sakamoto, his family, and other Japanese friends with both B.C. and Jessie. After Sakamoto opened a successful Tessai exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1961, B.C. convinced him to contribute his own calligraphy for an exclusive exhibit that was eventually opened in September 1966 at the Fine Arts Gallery at the University of British Columbia.

Health problems prevented Binning from actively contributing to the art community in the early 1970’s, but by this time had built up a solid repertoire of pieces that have made their mark on the Canadian art scene. After his death on March 16th 1976, Jessie continued her role as a voice and representative for her husband’s work until her own death on May 25th, 2007. Her last public presence was as a consultant for an exhibit of B.C.’s work at the Vancouver Art Gallery that ran from January through April 2007.

Jessie Binning

  • Pessoa
  • 1906-2007

Bertram Charles (B.C.) Binning was born on February 10, 1909 in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Due to an illness at a young age, he spent much of his time drawing in seclusion. His passion for art and architecture resulted in his enrolment in 1927 at the-then Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts. After spending time in the United States, in 1933 Binning was appointed to a staff position with the Vancouver School of Art. Later in 1938, B.C. Married Jessie Wyllie, the daughter of a Vancouver businessman. In 1949, he was transferred to the University Of British Columbia School Of Architecture. Soon after, he founded the Department of Fine Arts at UBC, which he headed for over twenty-five years.

With his appointment to the department of Fine Arts came a shift in his artistic direction.  Whereas pre-1948 he had established himself as an internationally recognized architect, post-1948 he felt himself drawn towards expressing his creativity in oil painting.  Building upon his architectural background, Binning often painted large complementary mosaic murals for various buildings and was particularly inspired by ships, marinas and seascapes in general; these were recurring themes for most of his artistic life.

The Binnings took the first of many visits to Japan in 1958. It was there that B.C. felt particularly inspired by the Japanese art and architecture he witnessed; these were a vehicle for a new and lengthy direction for his future work. While in Japan, B.C. and Jessie forged a deep relationship with Bishop Kojo Sakamoto (1875-1969), the 37th Superintendent Priest of the Kiyoshi Kojin Seicho-ji temple. A skilled calligrapher, Sakamoto’s work was influenced by colleague and friend Tomioka Tessai (1836-1924), a talented painter and calligrapher in his own right. The Binnings’ relationship with Sakamoto resulted in over a decade of frequent correspondence between Sakamoto, his family, and other Japanese friends with both B.C. and Jessie. After Sakamoto opened a successful Tessai exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1961, B.C. convinced him to contribute his own calligraphy for an exclusive exhibit that was eventually opened in September 1966 at the Fine Arts Gallery at the University of British Columbia.

Health problems prevented Binning from actively contributing to the art community in the early 1970’s, but by this time had built up a solid repertoire of pieces that have made their mark on the Canadian art scene. After his death on March 16th 1976, Jessie continued her role as a voice and representative for her husband’s work until her own death on May 25th, 2007. Her last public presence was as a consultant for an exhibit of B.C.’s work at the Vancouver Art Gallery that ran from January through April 2007.

Basil Hartley

  • Pessoa
  • 19-? - 1973

Reverend Basil Shakespeare Sutherland Hartley was ordained by the BC Conference of the United Church of Canada in 1939. Accompanied by his wife Edythe, Hartley worked in communities throughout BC, including Skidegate (1939-1940), Kitimaat (1941-1943), Windermere Valley (1944-1945), Greenwood (1946-1947), Nakusp (1948-1950). In 1951 he retired to Vancouver, and later lived in Nanaimo (1953), Castor, Alberta (1945-1955), and Rockey Mountain House (1956-1957). He died in 1973. Edythe Hartley later remarried, becoming Edythe McClure.

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