OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 25, 2012) - His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will host a ceremony to unveil the official portrait of the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, 27th Governor General of Canada, on Thursday, September 27, at 4 p.m. at Rideau Hall.
The Governor General, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean and Ms. Karen Bailey, the artist who created the portrait, will deliver remarks.
"Young people, women, the arts and culture were the focus of Michaëlle Jean's term as governor general. She also demonstrated leadership and empathy when meeting with our soldiers and their families as commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces. Today, with the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, she empowers youth in vulnerable situations to use the arts to transform their lives," said His Excellency.
The official portrait of the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean was painted by Karen Bailey, an Ottawa artist. Ms. Bailey's varied career spans three decades. Her work was first exhibited in 1981, when her detailed heraldic work was included in the Heraldry Now 1975-1981 exhibit at London's Victoria and Albert Museum. More recently, her largest canvas to date, Blast Victims, was part of the War and Medicine exhibit at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Karen Bailey's biography is attached to this news release.
The commissioning of official portraits of former governors general is a long-standing tradition dating back to 1898. The idea was initiated by Lady Minto-wife of then-Governor General Lord Minto-and became reality when it was formally adopted by the subsequent governor general, Lord Grey.
As custodian of the Official Residences and its collections, the National Capital Commission has the responsibility to manage the contract for the commissioning of governor general portraits. Portraits, once unveiled, become part of the Crown Collection of the Official Residences.
The biography of the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean can be accessed at www.gg.ca, under "History."
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Biography of Karen Bailey
Karen Bailey is known as a painter of people, working from life and from photographic reference from her studio in Ottawa. Through her representative style, she seeks to showcase beauty, honesty and, most importantly, humanity. From calligraphy to portraiture, her versatility and acute sense of observation led her to create works of great draftsmanship and sensitivity.
Ms. Bailey has been influenced by her training in heraldry, calligraphy and illumination at the Reigate School of Art & Design, in England. In 1981, she graduated with honours and exhibited her detailed heraldic art at the Victoria & Albert Museum. She is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant for drawing and painting, which she won in 1983 and 1985. She has since explored a diverse range of subjects and media, from book illustration and courtroom drawing to portraiture. Her artwork has been presented in exhibits in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.
In the past few years, Karen Bailey has been focussing on genre painting, using acrylic to create works depicting behind-the-scenes workers and under-recognized people. In 2006-2007, she was appointed as a military artist and traveled to Afghanistan to document military medical personnel at the Role 3 Hospital, in Kandahar. Triage is the resulting body of work and perhaps her best-known series to date. It reveals an oasis of hope amidst armed conflict, an intimate look at the victims and their healers. Her largest canvas to date, Blast Victims, was included in the War & Medicine exhibition at the Canadian War Museum, in Ottawa.