Portrait unveiled of first African-Nova Scotian Lt.-Gov.

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HALIFAX – The first African Nova Scotian lieutenant governor had her portrait unveiled in Government House on Tuesday.

A portrait of Mayann Francis was unveiled by Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant, as one of the closing events of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee year and opening events of African Heritage Month.

"I am delighted that during my term I have been able to honour our first two female lieutenant-governors, the Honourable Myra Freeman, and today, the Honourable Mayann Francis, by adding their portraits to the Government House collection," said Lt.-Gov. Grant in a news release.

"As the lieutenant-governor who granted Viola Desmond a free pardon, it is also particularly fitting that Ms. Francis's service is commemorated during this important month."

The theme for this year's African Heritage Month is Then and Now: Our Journey Continues. Throughout African Heritage Month, Lt.-Gov. Grant will attend several events throughout the province, in addition to hosting a number of lectures at Government House.

The portrait is the second of two that were undertaken by Nova Scotian photographer Sherman Hines, and have been donated by Larry Gibson of Halifax, who provided the funds for portraits of the two female lieutenant-governors.

The first portrait is of Freeman, the first female lieutenant-governor and the first of the Jewish faith. Her portrait was unveiled at Government House on Sept. 5.

"The opportunity to work on such a historic project with the first two female lieutenant-governors in the province, and having their portraits hang in Government House for people to see for many years to come is quite an honor," said Mr. Gibson. "This was a chance to give back a little to the province and Canada for all the opportunities it has given myself and our family business over the years."

Both portraits portray the former lieutenant-governors wearing the civil uniform, the ceremonial dress worn by successive lieutenant-governors of Nova Scotia since the 1850s.

Government House displays a number of other Royal and vice regal portraits dating back to King George III and Sir John Wentworth, the first lieutenant-governor to live in Government House. The works reflect the history and heritage of previous office holders.

Government House is also home to portraits of Victoria Cross recipient William Hall, Viola Desmond and Mi'kmaq Grand Chief Henri Membertou.


Organizations: African Heritage

Geographic location: Government House, Canada, Nova Scotia

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