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Art Exhibit will benefit Canadian Liver Foundation

By Christie McDonald
Saint John Weekend

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An exhibit at the Dufferin Inn and Suites by Artist Antoine Gaber will benefit the Canadian Liver Foundation. The paintings, many of which depict New Brunswick scenes, will be on display until the end of August. Mr. Gaber is pictured above at Cape Spencer.

Antoine Gaber is a passionate man. For a time, growing up in Cairo, Egypt, he was passionate about photography. In early adulthood he was passionate about pharmaceutical cancer research, which he pursued in Montreal and Toronto. He was passionate about implementing changes as the Director of the New Brunswick Medicare/Prescription Drug Program. Then, on the eve of his 37th birthday, Gaber decided to indulge in his desire to paint and he purchased some canvas and oil paints. His passion for art is boundless.

Gaber is 44 now and his paintings are fetching prices in the thousands. His work has been used on note cards and posters to raise money for various charitable organizations including Cancer Research and AIDS. And Gaber has been invited to represent Canada at the Biennale Internazionale dell’Arte Contemporanea, in Florence, Italy, in December of this year.

Gaber’s latest exhibit, which opened at the Dufferin Inn and Suites on April 5th, will benefit the New Brunswick region of the Canadian Liver Association. Mr. Gaber decided to lend his support to the Canadian Liver Foundation following his attendance at an Awareness Evening on Liver Disease, hosted by the Lt. Governor of New Brunswick in the fall of 2002. One of the speakers that evening was Freeman Patterson, a local photographer and artist and a double liver transplant recipient.

“Freeman Patterson’s personal story really touched me,” says Gaber. “Not a lot is known about liver disease, but it’s a fact that one out of every 12 Canadians are affected by it. There hasn’t been a lot done to promote awareness and so I decided that this would be a good opportunity.”

“The exhibit will consist of several paintings from Gaber’s stay in France, as well as paintings from the Atlantic region. The paintings, ranging in size from 12 x 16 inches and 4 x 6 feet and costing from one to five thousand dollars, will be on display at the inn until the end of August. Gaber paints on canvas and wood panels and describes his paintings as impressionistic. Indeed, in the early days he taught himself to paint by studying the works of the Masters- Degas, Monet and Hooper.

Gaber is well aware of his gift and feels that it is important not to take it for granted. His background in research and business has allowed him to be pragmatic when it comes to selling his work, but he also understands the importance of balance. “I have my own consulting business so I am able to work as much or as little as I need to,” says Gaber. “I don’t want to spend all my time working. I want to paint and I want to do some fund raising for the causes I believe in. Art and fundraising are my legacy. I believe that everyone should do something for others, something positive.”

“I’ve always kept it in my mind to help people, to use my talent for a good cause. It’s not a question of making money for me. What makes me happiest is knowing that people are benefiting from my art. That’s my reward. If we all started doing that, we’d have a better world.”