War Art

Scott Waters
War Art

Scott Waters

Scott Waters has an unusual vantage point for an artist. Over the last two decades he has created a body of work that both supports and tears down the mythology of soldiering. For the three years before that, he lived it. Twenty-three years ago the artist served as an infantryman in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI). In 1979, Waters’ family emigrated from northern England and settled in Trail, B.C. He took a rather roundabout path to the arts, joining the military out of high school. That early military experience has framed much of his work. There was clearly enough turbulence through those few years to fill a thousand canvasses. He explains, “One of the reasons I made the paintings is that I have a lot of unresolved feelings and unanswered questions about...
Geoffrey Bagley
War Art

Geoffrey Bagley

In 1985, on the 75th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Navy, Geoffrey Bagley donated 92 naval artworks to the Canadian War Museum, so in this the centennial year of the navy, it seems fitting to celebrate his contribution to Canada’s war art. The artist was born in England in 1901 and began his education in architecture. Finding it not entirely to his liking, he successfully petitioned his parents to let him study at the Nottingham College of Art. The artist left England in 1929, and moved to Toronto where he worked as an engraver. From there he went to Montreal where he built a career as a respected art director for a fine-paper manufacturer. In 1942, Bagley was hired as a graphic artist by the Wartime Information Board and the National Film Board of Canada. For his two year...
Karole Marois
War Art

Karole Marois

Every Canadian should have the opportunity to travel to Europe and walk in the footsteps of those who served in the First and Second World Wars. There, part of our history is somehow more tangible; it is found in the cemeteries and on the faces of the people who tend them and remember. For one lucky artist, that opportunity came her way as part of National Defence’s Canadian Forces Artists Program (CFAP). Karole Marois was chosen to paint the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands for CFAP. The impact of that trip was so deep that five years later she is doing it again—creating an even bigger and bolder series to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the liberation. Marois was born in Ottawa in 1958, and almost 20 years later graduated from Toronto’s Ontario College...
Karen Bailey
War Art

Karen Bailey

Karen Bailey is passionate about drawing attention to the uncelebrated workers in countless jobs across this land. When she was chosen in 2007 as part of the Canadian Forces Artists Program (CFAP) she carried her vision into the hospital at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Six years earlier, in June 2001, Chief of Defence Staff General Maurice Baril announced the creation of the CFAP. Since then, selected artists have been embedded with the troops in a wide variety of activities at home and abroad and they have recorded their experiences in artworks. Typically, war artists depict the grim aspects of war—the haunted landscapes, the machinery and the soldiers at the front. Not Bailey. Her vision is of hope and healing and she chooses to portray the individuals who work behind the sc...
Robert Semeniuk
War Art

Robert Semeniuk

In an issue that focuses on Canadian youth and explores our role in teaching and encouraging them to understand military history and remembrance, it is important to acknowledge that in some countries, veterans include the very young. Those kids carry the burden of war both as victim and perpetrator, and Canadian photographer Robert Semeniuk has witnessed that cost first-hand. His powerful images rank with some of the most affecting war art of our time. There is an odd similarity in the faces of his young subjects; a stillness, and that want of emotion, combined with such gritty subject matter, is riveting and disconcerting. They have been used as iconic symbols in the battle to stop landmines, and draw attention to improving world health. He describes the scene when he photograp...
From Fields Of Red – Canada's War Art
War Art

From Fields Of Red – Canada's War Art

The Flanders poppy has been the most recognized symbol of remembrance for the last 90 years, and so one would expect to find the scarlet flower proliferating in the over 13,000 artworks in the collection of the Canadian War Museum. Instead, images of the poppy are surprisingly rare. Perhaps Canadian artists were not present when the poppies bloomed like blood on the battlefields after the First and Second World Wars, or perhaps the flower’s significance was not broadly understood until the wars ended. But if you look, you will find it flowering in a dozen works or so, and in a surprising variety of mediums—a few paintings, a poster or two, a sculpture, and a pamphlet. The theory goes that before the First World War few poppies grew in Flanders. But after the massive barrage f...
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