Janet Nicol’s new book, On the Curve: The Life and Art of Sybil Andrews, is set to be released this weekend at the Museum at Campbell River. Image courtesy Caitlin Press

New book looks at Sybil Andrews’ legacy

Second book to come out in the past six months on iconic artist from Campbell River

Sybil Andrews is getting a fair bit of attention these days.

After two years of work by various artists and local organizations, a graphic novel on her life was published late last year by the Campbell River Arts Council, and now, this coming weekend, another book – this one perhaps more literary in nature – is set to be released.

Janet Nicol is a freelance writer with a special interest in art, history and social justice. She taught history for 29 years in Vancouver and has been a long-time volunteer for various historical organizations, such as the BC Labour Heritage Centre and the British Columbia Historical Federation.

She has written over 350 articles for 47 magazines, but she decided to take a look at our very own Sybil Andrews in her latest work, entitled On the Curve: The Life and Art of Sybil Andrews, a 160-page paperback set to be released to the public this Saturday at the Museum at Campbell River.

“In subtle strokes, Janet Nicol paints the story of the reclusive Sybil Andrews,” says editor of British Columbia History magazine Andrea Lister in her review of the work. “Carefully researched and engagingly written, On the Curve provides a compelling look into the quiet life of the artist behind the bold linocut prints. Nicol weaves together Sybil’s journey from her childhood in England, her work in London as a ‘professional female artist in a male-dominated world,’ to her life in Campbell River and her legacy as an internationally acclaimed artist.”

Although she was raised in Bury St Edmunds, England, On the Curve focuses on Andrews’ life after she immigrated to Canada in 1947.

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Settling in Campbell River, Andrews taught private art and music lessons and created artwork that gained her recognition across the globe. In the final years of her life, retrospective exhibitions of her prints in Canada and Britain skyrocketed her popularity. The City of Campbell River has recognized her as one of our most important figures, naming her April 19 birthday as Sybil Andrews Day in the city, as well as preserving her cottage as the first – and still only – heritage property on the Heritage Registry.

Nicol weaves together stories from Andrews’ letters, diaries and interviews from her former students and friends, creating a portrait of this determined, resilient and gifted British-Canadian artist. Andrews’ work is as popular today as it was in her lifetime and continues to celebrate the cultural, industrial, agricultural and natural world of Canada’s West Coast.

This Saturday’s launch event for On the Curve at the Museum at Campbell River runs from 1 to 3 p.m. for only $7. There is also a free meet and greet with Nicol being hosted by the Sybil Andrews Heritage Society at Sybil’s cottage in Willow Point on Friday night from 7 to 9 p.m.

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