Elizabeth Marie Mayne June 5, 1929 – March 23, 2020
Elizabeth Mayne was born in South Africa of Dutch-Afrikaans background, the oldest of three children; her father was a school teacher and her mother, a librarian.
From an early age she wanted to be an artist but her father sent her to Teacher’s College to be a Home Economics teacher. She taught at colleges of education, in South African and Australia.
She and her husband, Fred Mayne, came to Victoria more than 40 years ago; he was a professor of English at the University of Victoria and Elizabeth taught at Oak Bay and Esquimalt high schools.
In 1983 she achieved her ambition to study art and received her degree in Fine Art from the University of Victoria with an award of academic excellence.
Always a believer in justice for all South African, Elizabeth was involved in anti-apartheid activism in Victoria and her graduate project was a multi-media presentation on Nelson and Winnie Mandela.
She joined Xchanges Gallery and Studio Society, to have a studio, where she painted and made prints with Ground Zero printmakers.
Ever generous with her time and support for others she worked as a volunteer and Gallery Coordinator for 10 years. During this time, Xchanges had ten exhibitions a year, by artists from all over Canada.
Elizabeth helped obtain grants for the upgrading of the gallery and studios, and in 1990 an Exploration Grant from Canada Council, for their 20th Birthday Exhibition. During this time she helped organize and curate seven exhibitions at Xchanges Gallery, and for the Community Council.
She also helped to organize and curate shows for the Immigrant and Refugee Society.
As a member of Ground Zero Printmakers, she organized an International print Exchange in 2002: Micro-Macro. Over 200 South African and Canadian prints were exhibited at the Community Art Council Centre in Victoria, a Quebec gallery, at the National Library in Cape Town. This show was opened by the Canadian ambassador.
During 2005-2006 she curated her exhibition Strangers, about migrants and refugees. It was shown in Victoria, Quebec, Cape Town, Hastings and Auckland, New Zealand.
She participated in more than forty group shows and was featured in twelve solo exhibitions.
She was a prolific and talented artist, working in many styles and subjects, she exhibited often with Ground Zero Printmakers at Xchanges Gallery and with Watermark Printmakers. Her last two solo shows were in the summer of 2007 at the Martin Bachelor Gallery and the Community Arts Council.
Elizabeth was invested in many expressions of art; her work reflected her interest in social issues, South African culture, feminism and images inspired by nature.
She was a talented writer and while at university she started writing art reviews for The Martlet, Oak Bay News, and contributed regularly to NFS, a quarterly magazine published by Xchanges Gallery, as well as for various other art publications.
Her poetry was published in three chapbooks, Gadrian 1+ 2 + 3, with other artist friends. Her collection of poetry and drawings ‘A Passionate Continuity’ was published by Ekstasis Press in 2006
She also participated in many poetry readings including Poetry for the World in 2003 at the University of Victoria and at the Festival of Peace in 2005.
Elizabeth was a founding director of the Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation and gave generously to its support of women’s groups in Africa and Asia and more recently for a school for poor children in Pakistan. In Vitoria she was a committed participant in the vigil for peace and non-violence, Women in Black from its beginning until her health prevented her from attending, but she remained a dedicated supporter.
Her home for more than 30 years was in the Rudyard Kipling on Beach Drive where she enjoyed the ocean, mountain and park views until her last days.
Her husband, Fred Mayne, and her brother, photographer and artist Jan Hoek, predeceased her.
She leaves her bother Willem Hoek and his family in South Africa and her step-daughter, Helen and her family in the USA.
Missed by dear friends, Elizabeth will be remembered by many for her unfailing kindness, generosity, creativity and commitment to her strong ethical values.
A celebration of the life of Elizabeth Mayne has been postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.