This summer curators in the Fredericton Regional Museum 2020 Artist-in-Residence program were tasked to create any work of art that reflected current subjects such as COVID-19, but with a historical twist.

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Maria Bourgeois is using music software to create a song about war bride Maude Carson and the plight of New Brunswickers during the 1918 pandemic.

“Her husband passed away from the Spanish flu, his father passed away from the Spanish flu, she had the Spanish flu when she was giving birth and after she gave birth she passed away as well. So the only survivor was their son,” said Maria Bourgeois, an artist in residence.

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Poster for artists Ruby Allan and Maria Bourgeois at the Fredericton Regional Museum.

Megan Yamoah / Global News

Patrons of the arts got an engaging experience at the exhibit due to low traffic.

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“I sang into her computer and showed us all the notes that goes in A B C,” said Logan Sewell, a visitor.

“There wasn’t many people in the museum at the time so she was able to sit right down with us and show us how she’s composed music. It was really good,” said Fredericton local Karen Sheppard.

The program is funded by an Arts, Culture and Heritage grant from the City of Fredericton and the York Sunbury Historical Society.

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Ruby Allan is a visual artist, her concept for a COVID-19 themed visual art piece was inspired by her grandmother that died of the Spanish Flu in 1918.

“I looked at old photographs, I went to the provincial archives and got permission to take the pictures of the photographs. I do my Spanish flu art in sepia tones and the current COVID-19 I do in color,” said artist in residence Ruby Allan.

Using colored pencils, her art aims to link stories such as the transportation of returning soldiers to Canada that led to the Spanish Flu outbreak in New Brunswick after the First World War to the role of travel in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s lots of history for them to learn and because it’s been all forgotten about so it should be all reminded about,” said Sewell.

The museum’s program goes until August 22nd between the hours of 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.


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