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Trahan art celebrates Black History Month at library

Father Ernest Trahan, who lived in Lesotho, Africa for 40 years, has his African-influenced artwork on display at the Jacob Edwards Library as they celebrate Black History Month. Adam T. Silva. (click for larger version)
February 06, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — The artwork of Father Ernest Trahan has been put on display at the Jacob Edwards Library to help celebrate Black History Month.

While Father Trahan is white, his artwork is largely inspired by the 40 years he spent Lesotho, Africa. Born in Southbridge in 1927, he was educated at Academie Brochu, located at 29 Pine St. At the age of 15, he relocated to Quebec to study with the Brothers of the Sacred Heart at Mount Sacred Heart.

"I was always drawing and doodling when I should have been paying attention in school," he said. "I continued doodling when I was even in the seminary. I would fill pages in class, but they won't be notes from lectures. I took art lessons from someone in Paris through correspondence. I would send my art to him from Africa and would get it back with their opinions. A lot of my work is small so I could ship it to them easily."

Much of his art from his time studying for the priesthood was building designs. He would often get pulled away from studying to further explain his designs and oversee construction for them.

He is proof that appearances can be deceiving. After suffering a stroke last year, his speech has slowed down drastically, but his articulation and diction are still impeccable. True to artistic form, while speaking, he often draws out what he is speaking about with his fingers on the desk. When excited, he talks with his hands and raises them above his head.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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