Métis artist leaves a legacy in Victoria

Frank Lewis made cultural contributions to his communities

Frank Lewis poses before a mural he painted in an underpass where the Galloping Goose trail crosses Gorge Road.

Renowned muralist and painter Frank Lewis’ work adorns bridges, museums and many businesses throughout the southern Island, across Canada and even at the Canadian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The six-foot-six, blue-eyed Métis artist died March 6 at 81.

In September, Lewis unveiled his last public painting, Honour Creation, at the Royal Jubilee Hospital’s healing centre. He described the piece as the culmination of his 65-year career.

“I decided I would concentrate on the only thing I had left to do, to explore the spirituality within me that was still there and fresh and strong, and had been all throughout my career,” he told the News at the time.

Victoria Pruden, vice-president of the Métis Nation of Greater Victoria, said Lewis was a gift not only to Canada, but to the Métis people as a whole.

“It’s hard to put into words the way Frank is able to communicate so many aspects of us – positive, spiritual, healing – but also some of the challenges we’ve had as Métis, of being the invisible people,” Pruden said. “He’s able to transition such a poignant part of our soul and our experience through art.”

Lewis was born to a Cree father and Scottish mother in Winnipeg, but graduated from Oak Bay High in 1952. He earned a scholarship to Vancouver School of Art, now the Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

He embarked on a rich career in commercial art, winning awards as a graphic designer for magazines, books, CBC television and dozens of musical artists.

He was also a successful stage actor, appearing in the National Arts Centre premiere of George Ryga’s The Ecstacy of Rita Joe in 1967.

Since 1982, Lewis designed and painted dozens of murals, including “Bridging” along the Galloping Goose Trail, “Time Steps” on the Luxe Building at 1114 Langley St., the interior of Peacock Billiards and Vancouver’s 100th anniversary mural on the outside of that city’s Maritime Museum.

Lewis met his wife, Margaret Parker, at his 40th high school reunion in 1992, a moment he recalled as “love at first sight.” She was at his side when he died.

A celebration of Lewis’ life will be held at McCall’s Funeral Home, 1400 Vancouver St., on Friday, March 22 at 2 p.m.

A service will also be held in Vancouver at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Pacific Opera Victoria, while condolences for the family can be submitted at mccallbros.com.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Canadian Conservation Corp offers free nine-month adventure

Adventure program targets those aged 18 to 30

Fairway Gorge Paddle Club outrigger relay race raises money for men’s health

Annual Movember event returns, all proceeds will go to B.C. Cancer and Island Prostate Centre

Halloween roundup: Bonfires, fireworks and haunted houses

Events in Victoria, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Saanich, Saanich Peninsula and Sooke

Clear skies and wind ahead for Tuesday

Plus a look ahead at the week

City of Victoria considers proposed senior rental development

The Mount St. Angela’s complex aims to include affordable rental units

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Union says Western Forest Products refuses to budge from ‘unreasonable concessions’

According to a press release, both parties met on Oct. 16, 18, 19, and 20.

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

App designed to help cut waste and grocery bills

Food security advocates say addressing poverty is ultimate key

Most Read