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Montreal grandfather hosts first art show, nine decades in the making

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At almost 89 years old, Emile Shamie is a father, grandfather, retired businessman and now an artist.

 "I spent 48 years of my life having fun," he said.

He said he’s still having fun, fulfilling his lifelong dream of being an artist. He approaches his work with a childlike wonder.

 "If I need inspiration to paint, the first thing I would do is I would put the music on. I would dance, and then I could paint forever."

His creations are colourful and expressive.

Looking at his canvases, it may be hard to believe he was diagnosed with macular degeneration four years ago. 

"The loss of my eyesight caused me to increase my other senses. Not only my hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling senses, but my sixth sense," said Shamie.

That sixth sense led him to create and now showcase his work at an upcoming vernisage.

Galerie 203 owner Corinne Asseraf said it’s an honour to display Shamie’s creations. 

"In the art world there's no age," she said. "I'm excited he's on Greene Avenue. It's my first anniversary and to kick off the summer with Emile Shamie is a real gift."

Shamie is humble about his art. 

"I never tried to sell my paintings. I usually try to talk people out of  it," he said with a smile. 

Joking aside, the exhibit is close to nine decades in the making. 

"This gives me an opportunity, even for myself to see what was created," he said.

The show has Shamie looking back at his legacy. He is giving a portion of the proceeds to Cedars Cancer Foundation, after his own battle with oral cancer in 2015.

"We’re very happy to do that because they do great work," said Shamie.

Shamie’s motto has always been taking it one day at a time.

"I just enjoy the journey," he said. 

Because Shamie says dreams can come true. 

"It's never too late, this is for sure." 

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