Thelma Pepper, Where Grace Found Freedom, 1989, gelatin silver print, 39.3 x 109.4 cm. The Mendel Art Gallery Collection at Remai Modern. Photographers Gallery Collection. Gift of PAVED Arts, 2011.

Make one of Thelma Pepper’s recipes this fall

As the weather turns cool, it’s a great opportunity to revisit the comforts of the season. With just a few weeks left in the run of Thelma Pepper: Ordinary Women, we wanted to share a recipe from the artist herself, kindly shared by her family.

Thelma Pepper’s baked beans

Soak 2 cups of beans in water overnight. Drain.

Cover with fresh water and cook slowly until skins break.

Place soaked beans into a pot.

Pour boiling water over ½ lb. fat salt pork. Cut strips not quite to the rind. Put some pork at bottom of pot. Save some pork for the top.


  • ½ t. salt
  • 3 T. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. molasses
  • ¾ t. mustard
  • ½ t. Worcestershire sauce

Add mixture to pot.

Bake in a 250-300-degree F oven for six to eight hours. Uncover during the last half hour to brown.

You can make this recipe at home or get a ticket for the final Looking Up fundraising dinner, inspired by Pepper’s artwork, and featuring her baked bean recipe, on September 9, 2021.

Saskatoon-based artist Thelma Pepper died in 2020 at age 100. (Photo courtesy of the Pepper family)

About Thelma Pepper

Thelma Pepper (1920-2020) was a Saskatoon-based artist, who was born in Nova Scotia, where she was introduced to photography by her grandfather and father. Pepper studied biology at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, completing a Bachelor of Science and later, a Master of Science at McGill University, Montreal. Having moved to Saskatoon in 1947, it was not until after her four children were grown that she began her own photographic work.  

Pepper was active with The Photographer’s Gallery, an artist-run exhibition and resource centre dedicated to photography as an artistic practice. At the age of 69, she had her first solo exhibition in 1990, entitled Decades of Voices: Saskatchewan Pioneer Women, which went on to travel across Canada and to Scotland. 

Pepper was the subject of a National Film Board of Canada production, A Year at Sherbrooke in 2009, and was the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Award—Lifetime Achievement (2014) and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit (2018). The exhibition coincides with the publication of Pepper’s biography, written by Amy Jo Ehman and published by MacIntrye Purcell.

Thelma Pepper: Ordinary Women is on view in Remai Modern’s Collection Galleries until October 11, 2021.