September 28th, 2021

Portrait of former Hat MLA Robert Wanner unveiled at legislature

By medicinehatnews on December 9, 2019.
The portrait of former Medicine Hat MLA and Speaker of the Legislature Robert Wanner was unveiled in the legislature rotunda on Monday. Dec. 9, 2019. The portrait was done by Joe Versikaitis, a former Hatter who trained locally.

The portrait of former Medicine Hat MLA and speaker of the legislature Robert Wanner was unveiled on Monday morning, along with a local twist.

The portrait was painted by Joe Versikaitis, a former Hatter who trained locally and now lives in Calgary.

Each of Alberta’s 13 former speakers are are honoured following their tenure with a portrait the hangs in the legislature rotunda, and Wanner’s was unveiled Monday by current speaker Nathan Cooper.

“With his meaningful work in social services and his personal dedication to community development, Speaker Wanner was able to bring a unique perspective to the role of Speaker,” said Cooper. “His insight enabled him to perform the role admirably.”

Wanner, elected in 2015, became the third speaker with a connection to Medicine Hat area. 

Redcliff MLA Charles Pingle served as speaker for 16 months beginning in 1920.

David Carter, who was raised in Medicine Hat and retired to the Cypress Hills, represented a Calgary riding in the legislature as an MLA and served as speaker from 1986 to 1993.

The portrait shows Wanner leaning in front of the speaker’s chair with his hand resting on a podium that holds an eagle feather and Metis sash.

Versikaitis is best known for his portraits of athletes. His work has been exhibited at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

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