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OSITHE, Sister Mary (Osithe Elizabeth Labossière)

Born
Sorel, Quebec, 1867
Died
Victoria, British Columbia, 1941
Biography synopsis
A woman of many talents, Sister Osithe practised painting (both on canvas and china), drawing and, perhaps most notably, architecture. Brought to Victoria from Montreal in 1897 to teach art at St. Ann's Academy where she remained for 40 years, she was an enthusiastic and much beloved teacher, keeping the art studio open all day long to encourage her students to feel at ease. Her own works, religious in subject matter, graced the walls of the Academy and included versions of "Crib" and "The Immaculate Conception" both based on works by Baroque artist Bartolomez Esteban Murillo. In 1903, Osithe returned to Montreal to continue her artistic training at the Mother House in Lachine. There she completed copies of Millet's "Reapers" and Hoffman's "Rich Young Man," in addition to some original works, such as "Building the Card House." When she returned to Victoria, she participated in the Academy's Annual Exhibitions and attracted a certain amount of publicity for her works. Soon, she was teaching art classes to fashionable ladies of Victoria society, thus generating income for the Academy and nurturing interest in art through various activities. Her architectural projects included a gymnasium of the Academy (1921) and a new wing for Little Flower Academy, a school in Vancouver. She also contributed to designs for other schools and hospitals under the Sisters of St. Ann in British Columbia. When the Academy closed in 1973, Osithe's paintings were moved to other locations; some can be found at the St. Ann's Residence.
Media used
Architecture
Calligraphy
China painting
Painting
Photography
File & Archive locations
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Writings about
"Painting with Precision." Times-Colonist (Victoria) 28 Jun. 2004: B2.
Amos, Robert. "A Woman's Place Defined." Times-Colonist (Victoria) 7 Oct. 2004: D8.
Amos, Robert. "On Art: The Glories of St. Ann's." Times-Colonist (Victoria) 28 Dec. 1997: 1.
Blake, Joseph. "Music Celebrates Start of Advent at St. Ann's." Times-Colonist (Victoria) 25 Nov. 2004: D12.
Coppin, Rhianon. "Ground-breaking architect designed academy building." Vancouver Sun 18 Nov. 2004: A18.
Lepine, Ayla. "The St. Ann's Academy Art Studio." BC Historical News: Journal of British Columbia Historical Federation 35.4 (Fall 2002): 15-7.
Murphy, Patrick. "St. Ann's Academy - Restoring Faith." Times-Colonist (Victoria) 5 Dec. 1997: 1.

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