The Bateman Foundation is currently one of the only non-profits in Canada that promote our connections with nature using artworks. Our board consists of Directors of the Bateman Foundation and Directors of the Robert Bateman Foundation of America.
Directors of the Bateman Foundation
Honorary Chair Emeritus
Robert Bateman’s realistic and evocative painting style reflects his deep understanding and appreciation for nature, featuring wildlife in its natural habitat and encouraging the viewer to closely observe the natural world. Besides being one of Canada’s foremost artists, he is also a naturalist recognized by the Audubon Society as one of the 20th century’s “heroes of conservation.” He was born in 1930 in Toronto and grew up exploring the natural areas of the Beltline trail next to his home.
In 1954, he graduated with a degree in geography from Victoria College in the University of Toronto. Afterwards, he attended Ontario College of Education. Starting in 1957, Bateman travelled around the world for 14 months in a Land Rover with his friend, Bristol Foster. As they made their way through Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and Australia, Bateman painted and sketched what he saw.
Bateman became a high school teacher of art and geography, and continued focusing his life on art and nature. He is a spokesman for many environmental and preservation issues, using his art to raise millions of dollars for these causes. His work started to receive major recognition in the 1970s and 1980s. Robert Bateman’s show in 1987, at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, drew the largest crowd for a living artist.
Robert has received numerous honours and awards, including the Order of Canada and fourteen honorary doctorates. He has been the subject of several films and books, including The Art of Robert Bateman (1981), The World of Robert Bateman (1985), An Artist in Nature (1990), Natural Worlds (1996), Thinking Like a Mountain (2000), Birds (2002), New Works (2010), Life Sketches (2015) and Bateman’s Canada (2017), as well as several children’s books.
Robert now resides on Salt Spring Island with his wife Birgit Freybe Bateman whom he married in 1975. He has five children, Alan, Sarah, John, Christopher and Robby, plus over eight grandchildren. At 90, Robert continues a schedule of daily painting, public talks and advocating nature.
David has been in the investment industry for over 30 years, holding a number of senior management positions. David focuses on a core group of clients, providing exceptional individual service with access to one of the most robust investment networks available. David is very active in the community, and has held many board positions over the last two decades in Victoria. He was Past Chair of the Gustavson Board of Advisors and was a board member at Pacific Opera, RBCM Foundation, Victoria Golf Club, and advisory board member at Power To Be. Presently, David is the Chair of the Bateman Foundation and Co-Founder of the UVIC Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
John Bateman was born in Burlington, Ontario in 1968. His early years were spent in the rural surroundings of the Niagara Escarpment with many natural and artistic influences around him. In 1977, at age 9, John moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, with his mother, step father, older brother and sister.
In January, 1990, John enrolled in the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) where he majored in Printmaking and Sculpture. It was there he met his future wife, artist, Jocelyn Ferguson. In 1992 Bateman suspended his studies to open a recording studio. During this time, John began designing album covers and eventually sat as a judge for the Juno awards in the design category. In 1998, tired of working in front of a computer for a living, John returned to NSCAD to complete his BFA. Upon completion of his degree, he joined NSCAD woodshop director Ken Lamb as a shop technician and teaching assistant. Through Ken’s enthusiasm and knowledge, John’s passion for woodworking began.
In January of 2001, John and Jocelyn moved to Kenya to work in a furniture production shop. There he supervised proper wood treatment, drying and categorizing, while Jocelyn focused on the business side of the shop. In September of that same year the two moved to Salt Spring Island with the intention of settling down and starting a family. Here he continued with woodworking doing commissions for local clients. While living on Salt Spring, John started creating his boxes as a means of artistic expression. With an emphasis on composition, proportion and precision, John continues to explore and refine his skills as a woodworking artist. He now has two children, Annie and James. John has been Chair of the Bateman Foundation since 2015 and enjoys the opportunity of introducing his father at many of the events held at the gallery.
Dorion was born in Toronto on February 15 1950. She attended Bishop Strachan School and graduated from Carleton University where she studied psychology. After graduation, Dorion lived in Montreal and worked at the head office of the Royal Bank of Canada as an employment officer for all Head office staff. In 1975, Dorion moved to Toronto to enter the management program for women who would then be fast tracked into more senior roles.
In 1976, Dorion entered the family business, Kingsmill Foods, in marketing and sales. The company was founded by Dorion’s father and specializes in the development of powdered beverages and gluten free foods. The business markets to major retail stores and food companies in Canada, the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Finland. In 1984, Dorion became President and CEO of Kingsmill Foods. Her financial and executive skills continued to grow Kingsmill Foods into a successful business. The company was sold in 2013.
As a brand, marketing and fundraising professional, Gregg has made a career of promoting products, services and causes that he believes in. Gregg is currently a Vice President with DCG Philanthropic Services, a fundraising and marketing firm that supports the campaign needs of non-profits, charities, and municipalities across Canada. Prior to DCG, Gregg spent six years as the Vice President of Marketing with the Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club.
Prior to the Roughriders, Gregg spent eight years with Nokia Mobile Phones where he was Global Director of Media Partnership Development and Marketing, driving mobile content adoption with some of the world’s largest media brands. Gregg also served as Director of Consumer Products with the National Football League in NY and Managing Director of the LEGO Toy Group’s Media division in North America. Gregg has been a lecturer on topics of brand and marketing at business schools and has spoke at marketing, sports and digital conferences in Canada, the US and Europe.
Gregg and his wife now call Victoria home where they enjoy all that this wonderful city and island have to offer.
Dilhari Fernando is a Director General at the Government of Canada. She is proud of her contribution to many federal Departments and Agencies, including Environment and Climate Change Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Industry, Science and Innovation Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Privy Council Office, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Over these years, she has specialized in public policy, strategy, operations, change management and international affairs.
From 2013-2015, Dilhari served as the Executive Director of the not-for-profit Invasive Species Centre, where she helped to deliver programs and led awareness activities to help protect nature.
She credits her multidisciplinary education to helping her view issues from many sides. Dilhari holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Ottawa, Master of Forestry Economics from the University of New Brunswick, Bachelor of Science from Western, and a Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from the University of Toronto. Currently based in Ottawa, Ontario, Dilhari considers herself very fortunate to have worked and lived in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and British Columbia.
As a bilingual member of the Board of Directors, Dilhari is excited to bring the Bateman Foundation to the country’s Capital!
Chris Bateman is Head of Visual Arts at St. Michael University School in Victoria, a position he started in 2009. He began his relationship with SMUS as a boarder in the old Harvey House in the early 90s. A few years after graduating, he returned as a junior house parent and taught some art classes while studying at the University of Victoria, where he received his MA. In 2005, he left to teach at—and later direct—a cutting edge environmental school in Eleuthera, The Bahamas.
Chris believes visual communication is increasingly important with the rise of digital media and the internet, and that art provides students a creative outlet that greatly differs from their core studies. Art is a growing post-secondary option that has viable career paths and Chris emphasizes this in his classes.
His own artistic interests include drawing, painting, illustration, photography, graphic design and video editing. He also plays the guitar.
Kent is a husband and father for two boys, and has lived in Victoria since 2005. Prior to moving to Victoria, Kent grew up in Fredericton, New Brunswick where he also went to university and started his professional career. Kent is a partner in the Assurance and Business Advisory group with Grant Thornton LLP, an international leading firm in accounting, tax, and advisory. Kent has been helping organizations of all sizes to grow and evolve for almost twenty years. He is extremely passionate about helping businesses identify operational opportunities and gain efficiencies. Kent is past board member for the Capital Region Urban Development Institute and the Canadian College of Performing Arts.
“My family is passionate about conservation and, after meeting with the executive director to understand more about the Foundation, I was very impressed with the programming you are putting together for children.”
Klehwetua Rodney Sayers
Klehwetua Rodney Sayers is a visual artist whose studio practice is based on Ahswinis, in what is now known as Port Alberni. Although his practice is deeply rooted in his Hupač’asath traditions, he is influenced and amused by his observations of the ‘funny edge’ of the world, and these contemplations are reflected in his work. He believes that for an art tradition to remain relevant, it must change and adapt, but remain true to its origins.
Kate lives on Salt Spring Island and works as a Recreation Programmer and Instructor with Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation.
Directors of the Robert Bateman Foundation of America
- Rob Bateman – Chairman
- Paul J. Crecca – Treasurer
- Elizabeth MacMahon