Biographies of Folk Artists

In alphabetical order by last name:

Eva Comeau-Hersey

(From Eva Comeau-Hersey A Gift of Art/ Le Don de l’Art, catalogue for an exhibition of the same name, published by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, 1998.)
Born in Little Brook Station in 1897, Eva Comeau was the first of eight girls and nine boys. At seventeen she crossed the border to the United States to find work, settling finally in New York. There she met and soon married Ulysse Melanson. They both worked in the US, but later came back to Nova Scotia and started a new life near Digby. They separated and Eva returned to the United States where she stayed until the end of World War II. In 1949, she moved once again to Nova Scotia, this time for good.
In the 1950s, she lived in her native community of Clare until the 1960s when she married Bill Hersey from Digby Neck. They lived there until Bill passed away in the early 1970s. Eva moved back to Clare until her death in 1979.
Eva spent most of her life working as a servant, with a reputation as a terrific cook and seamstress. She also loved to paint and give away her work to her friends; thus, she sold but a few.  Most of her paintings were never signed.

Edna Durkee

Edna Durkee was a Yarmouth artist who later in her life was recognized as a folk artist. She exhibited regularly with the Yarmouth Art Society. The work that At the Sign of the Whale Gallery carried of hers was mostly monoprints.

(1914 – 2001)
Eli Whiteway was born in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. He took over his father’s shoe making and repair business and he later opened “Eli’s Store” a general store in Shelburne. Eli started carving as a young boy and later carved pieces for his yard and to sell as souvenirs in his store. His animals, people and three dimensional paintings and assemblages are original and decorative. Eli was one of 22 artists selected to participate in “Folk Art Of Nova Scotia”, held in 1976 which was the first exhibition of contemporary Nova Scotia folk art organized by the Art Gallery Of Nova Scotia. This exhibition toured Canada from January, 1977 to May, 1978. He represented Nova Scotia at Expo 86 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Ref: Nova Scotia Folk Art Festival Society, A Joyous Vision – Contemporary Folk Art In Nova Scotia (1995); Marie Ellwood, Folk Art of Nova Scotia (1976); Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, A Life of Its Own (1997); Blake McKendry, An Illustrated Companion to Canadian Folk Art (1999).