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Emily Carr – Sprott Shaw College Alumni


black and white picture of emily carr

This year, Sprott Shaw College is celebrating its 115th Anniversary so we’re looking back at a special moment in our history. Over the years, many well known British Columbians have graduated from Sprott Shaw, including the world-famous painter Emily Carr. She was one of the first painters in Canada to adopt a Modernist and Post-Impressionist painting style, often painting Indigenous themes and BC landscapes. She was also one of the earliest chroniclers of life in BC.

According to the Emily Carr House in Victoria, her early writings were too difficult for editors to read, so in the 1930’s she enrolled in a typing course at Sprott Shaw College. As she tells in her journals:

Some days it seems hopeless to say what I want. I just flounder in mediocre thoughts and words and paint. Well, those days one should plod away at technical difficulties and not worry or be depressed because that which is greater than ones-self seems to have forsaken you… [so] I corrected and typed the Skidigate story.

Emily’s Skidigate story was amongst those that made up the chapters in her first published book, Klee Wyck, which won the Governor General’s Award when it was published in 1941. Later on in her career, she was quoted as saying:

In later years, my work had some praise and some successes but the outstanding event to me was the doing which I am still at. Don’t pickle me away as done.

For more information on the Emily Carr House, click here!

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