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  • Reverse of a Kathleen Daly canvas with an artist signature
  • Side view of a Kathleen Daly landscape with loose brush strokes depicting a country scene
  • View from above of an oil painting of an Inuit man

Curated by Darryn Doull

Kathleen Frances Daly Pepper (b. Napanee, Ontario, 1898, d. Toronto, Ontario, 1994) is widely known for her portraiture and depictions of northern Québec and Labrador communities. Her most iconic images convey a quiet warmth of humanity; an intimacy of close looking. 

Northern Exposures focuses on a series of sketches and paintings primarily resulting from three trips. The first, in 1954, was spent on a trawler around the coasts of Newfoundland. In 1960, Daly boarded a government steamship for a three-month voyage through the Eastern Arctic. Finally, in 1961, Daly spent seven weeks depicting the Inuit of Puvirnituq and surrounding areas.

The Arctic has long been depicted as an almost mythical place by temporary visitors; a dreamscape onto which fantasies of purity, exoticism and ownership can be projected. Western artists (especially the Group of Seven) typically emptied these lands in their representations.   Not to dismiss the burden of their own intercultural complication, Daly's images seem to come from a more genuine, immersive place than other mid-century travellers of the same regions. Compare Daly’s representation of the North with those found in Billy Gauthier: Sila to explore contrasting views, understandings and relations across these lands over the last century. 

Related Programs

Opening and Curatorial Tour of Northern Exposures with Darryn Doull | 14 July
14 July
2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Curatorial Tours are generously sponsored by the Gamble Family.


1. Detail of a signature on the reverse of a canvas by Kathleen Daly. 
2. Kathleen Daly (Canadian, 1898-1994), Untitled (Fishing village) * n.d. Oil on canvas board. Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery Permanent Collection:
Gift of the Estate of Kathleen Daly Pepper, 1995.
3. Kathleen Daly (Canadian, 1898-1994), Untitled (Inuit man), n.d. Oil on canvas board. Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery Permanent Collection: Gift of the Estate of Kathleen Daly Pepper, 1996. All photography is by KWAG.

* Note:
Some works in this exhibition are unsigned and exact authorship is at least partially undetermined. It is possible that some works may have been produced by Daly’s husband, George Pepper (Canadian, 1903-1962). While we are fairly confident in Daly’s hand, we have notated pertinent works with an asterisk after the title on labels.