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  • Writer's pictureSue Miller

Press for 1917 Exhibition

Cornwall city councillor Elaine MacDonald had some great things to say about the 1917—Canada Comes of Age Exhibition...

Canada’s coming of age

It is Cornwall’s great good fortune to be home for a week of the history-themed art show Canada 2017 at Cailuan Gallery, 225 Pitt Street.

During the sesquicentennial year, it has been said that Canada may be 150 years old but the country only came of age in 1917, at Vimy Ridge. The show plays on this theme, giving center stage to the First World War, of course, but moving beyond the military aspects of the war to showcase the social context and domestic impacts too.

The exhibit features 21 works of 10 artists who were invited to contribute canvases reflecting their personal insights into 1917. The result is a snapshot of Canada at a special moment in time. The scope is broad: on one canvas, a soldier struggles through the churned up mud of Passchendaele, while two others feature the Halifax Explosion and aftermath. Still others show a changed world on the domestic front, wherein young farmerettes take to the fields, while older women moved into the more dangerous work in munitions factories and letters between the home front and the war front held everyone together.

The 21 works feature a variety of media, from oil to acrylic to mixed media and a range of tones, from whimsical narrative to allegory and satire. The show was curated by Ross and David Rheaume and originally mounted in Inspiration Village, Ottawa’s York Street celebration of the sesquicentennial. Cornwall’s sesquicentennial Committee appealed to the Rheaume brothers to bring the show to the city as part of our sesquicentennial celebration and Tracy Davies, artist owner of Cailuan Gallery cleared her calendar to give the 1917 a fitting home in the heart of downtown. The vernissage took place on Nov. 10, on the eve of Remembrance Day and the show will run till Nov. 16. Art lovers, history buffs and members of the general public are encouraged to come to Cailuan Gallery to see an incredibly moving celebration of Canada’s coming of age.

Elaine MacDonald Councillor and member of Cornwall’s Sesquicentennial Committee

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