Unity Langford Brewster
July 6, 1916 – November 30, 2017
BREWSTER (Unity Langford Bainbridge) July 6, 1916 - November 30, 2017
Unity (Bainbridge) Brewster, a long time resident of West Vancouver, passed peacefully in her sleep in the late hours of November 30th, 2017. Unity was predeceased by her parents, George P. and Deborah Bainbridge, and her sister Ursula Ridgeway. Unity is survived by her daughter Deborah Ryan (Rick), granddaughters Lisa Denton (Caley), Cindy Devlin, grandchildren Isabelle and Emma Denton, Chase and Hudson Devlin. Also left to mourn are sister, Monica Reznick and many nieces and nephews.
Unity, an early pioneer Canadian artist, was born in Victoria BC on July 6th 1916. Her talent was exhibited as a child and perfected as a student at the Vancouver School of Art (Emily Carr University) from which she graduated in 1936. She felt a kinship with other artists who shared her love of nature. She was a classmate contemporary of Ed Hughes and was influenced by her discussions and visits with “Group of Seven artists Frederik Varley and Lawren Harris.
“History must be left intact” is a phrase often associated with the work of Unity when one views her work and reads the details of her subjects in her books and the marginalia integral to her art. Unity saw and experienced the mystical magic of the world and always sought to reflect that mysticism in her work.
Unity never ceased to remind people “We were taught at Art School to always draw from life and strive to do as well as Leonardo. Art is life and life is Art. We would have been expelled if we were found copying. I along with my class mates were taught that you do not paint to sell: you paint because you are passionate about something and to embrace that passion so others can experience it.”
Unity’s art has been exhibited in galleries, large and small, from the early thirties to the present day. She had her first large one woman show in the early fifties. Her work is in the permanent collection of Buckingham Palace, Canada House, Imperial War Museum, the Diefenbaker Museum, Vancouver Art Gallery, as well as in numerous galleries and homes around the world.
Unity was always drawn to the Indigenous people. She believed the First Nation traditional culture provides the foundation blocks for creating a healthy, compassionate society possessing respect for the power of nature.
Unity received many awards over her lifetime including the Province of British Columbia’s highest honour, the Order of British Columbia.
No flowers by request.
Unity Langford Brewster
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December 17, 2017
All too frequently the world does not appreciate the influence of our artists in helping society shape its values. Unity was unique. She provided us with a connection to the beauty of that which surrounds us. Her work brought us closer to her subjects and at the same time helped us to understand a deeper message of humanity, nature and the balancing of self interest with the broader, global influences that are felt and experienced by our actions and at times in-actions. One only needs to look at the faces of her portrait subjects or find themselves in her landscapes to feel what she wanted us to experience, human feelings and nature's warmth.Unity was a gift to all of us that will live on for generations and generations. She will be missed.
On behalf of the hundreds who were privileged to see her retrospective at the Ferry Gallery just a few weeks before her passing
December 13, 2017
To Unity's family my respect and heartfelt condolence's. Unique Unity, my best friend over many years! The BC Art world will miss this lady from their midst. Unity a gentle lady with a powerful voice of love this land' expressed this in all her landscapes. Though Unity was first and foremost a Portrait Painter Supreme.
December 8, 2017
I miss you.