For 14 years, Pierscape has been celebrating the artistic, cultural, and heritage achievements of Sydney’s most distinctive neighbourhood.
This year’s featured visual artist, Bill Daye, was born in Port Morien, but moved to the Pier in 1901 at age 2 when his father went to work at the Dominion Iron and Steel Company.
Daye himself grew to work as a machinist and drafts man at the Steel Plant. His drafting skills, as well as a knowledge of animal anatomy developed through his work as a taxidermist, helped Daye further his artistic talent.
Bill’s interest in painting started early, he painted on any surface available including ship sails and objects and surfaces in his home. After Daye’s wife suffered a severe paralyzing stroke, a gift of a set of oil paints from his daughter renewed his interest in painting.
After his wife died in died in 1973, Daye completed many paintings as a form of therapy during this time including a series of oil on canvas called the “Horse and Cart Days”. Eight of these paintings were purchased by Cape Breton University and then he was commissioned by the president of the university to paint eight more.
His work was shown at the McConnell Library, the Sydney and Whitney Credit Union, The Royal Canadian Legion, CBU, and at the Lyceum. Later his piece “Winter’s Pork” was purchased by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
Daye continued to paint until the age of 84, two years before his death in 1985. In 1999, Daye was honoured on what would have been his 100th birthday with a showing of 15 paintings at Cape Breton University.
The PierScape Art Exhibit, featuring many of Daye’s works, opens on Monday, May 9 at 7:30 pm at Whitney Pier Memorial Junior High. The Keynote Speaker is Dr. Elizabeth Beaton and there will be a wine and cheese reception.
The Gallery exhibit hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 9 am to 8 pm. For a full schedule of PierScape events, visit their website at www.pierscape.ca.