Highlights of the special exhibits happening at our national museums and gallery.
On from June 12, 2014 – September 14, 2014, come to the National Gallery of Canada. Draftsman, painter and sculptor, Gustave Doré is arguably the most renowned illustrator of all time. Organized in collaboration with the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, this exhibition will be the first comprehensive retrospective devoted to this major artist and will include prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture. A hundred works, ranging from spectacular panoramas to intimate studies, will be brought together to illustrate Doré’s great artistic diversity. Doré’s imagination has also inspired many 20th and 21st-century filmmakers.
Gustave Doré, “Help! Help! The Marquis of Carabas is drowning!” (detail), 1864. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1969. Photo © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY.
This exhibit is on from April 9, 2014 – September 21, 2014 at the Canadian War Museum. The brutal horrors that Group of Seven painter A. Y. Jackson and German artist Otto Dix witnessed on the front lines of the First World War as soldiers moved each to create landscape art that reflects their experiences of the conflict. This exhibit shows how their wartime experiences resonate in their later landscapes. Many transform elements of the conflict into personal commentary on Canadian and German national identity in the inter-war years. Today, Jackson’s landscapes continue to contribute to a distinctly Canadian visual identity that fosters patriotism and connection to Canada. Conversely, Dix’s art has only recently been seen as reflective of Germany’s troubled experiences of war, defeat and dictatorship.
On at the Canadian War Museum from April 9, 2014 – September 21, 2014, this exhibition examines how Canadians captured their First World War experiences in art, both at home and overseas, whether as official war artists or as soldiers in the field. From massive canvases completed in studios in England and Canada during and immediately after the war, to intimate sketches and drawings made in trenches and prisoner-of-war camps, this innovative exhibition will show never-before exhibited works and expand our visual understanding of the personal and national impact of this major event in Canadian history.
Until September 28, 2014 at the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization), explore how Snow has shaped the Canadian identity at this special exhibit. You’ll develop a deeper appreciation for the coldest season through the passion and ingenuity of the Aboriginal Peoples and arrival of Europeans to North America as they learned to live and adapt to the snow. Snow not only inspires artists but from it developed creative and continuously evolving winter sports. With over 250 culturally historic artifacts to discover, you won’t want to miss Snow.
On from May 3 – November 9, 2014 at the Canadian Museum of Nature, this amazing exhibition explores the extraordinary organisms that produce light—from flickering fireflies to strange deep-sea fishes. Visitors will wander through a series of immersive environments, from the familiar to the extreme, to explore the diversity of organisms that glow and how they do it. Exciting and informative, the exhibition shows how light is used to attract a mate, lure unsuspecting prey, or defend against a predator.
World War 1 was called the “war of the camera”. While many earlier wars fought after photography’s invention were documented by the medium, WW1 represented a turning point in several regards, not the least of which was the way in which both the Allied forces and the Central Powers chose to use photography as a tool with which to develop strategy, to spy, to provoke, and to persuade. From June 27 – November 16, 2014 at the National Gallery of Canada, come see a diverse selection of photographs drawn from national and international collections in an attempt to illustrate the important role that photography played during World War I.
This is a unique exhibition that recounts the history of ordinary citizens through the formative years of our young nation during of the First World War. Featuring exceptional artefacts and photographs, a commemoration project, interactive activities and an immersive atmosphere, this exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War is not to be missed. “Ottawa Answers the Call!” opens at the BYTOWN MUSEUM on April 9th, 2014 and runs through to January 18th, 2015.
On from October 17, 2014 – March 8, 2015 at the National Gallery of Canada, Shine a Light will showcase some of the best and most innovative works being made today in a variety – and often combination of – media, from video and film to drawing and painting, photography to sculpture and installation. It reveals the unique ways contemporary Canadian artists are responding to the larger social and political state of the world through their art and how they are choosing interdisciplinary modes of self-expression that transcend traditional categories, materials and genres.
A significant part of Canada’s contribution to the First World War took place on Belgian soil. Gas, Mud and Memory explores how the Canadians who fought in Belgium had to adapt to significant battlefield challenges ― from the first lethal use of poison gas in the Second Battle of Ypres to the hellish mud of Passchendaele. The exhibition highlights the story of John McCrae and his famous poem In Flanders Fields, and explores the evolution of Canadian and Belgian collective memories of this conflict over the past 100 years. On from November 6, 2014 – March 29, 2015 at the Canadian War Museum.
Alfred Bastien, Canadian Gunners in the Mud, Passchendaele © Beaverbrook Collection of War Art, Canadian War Museum, 19710261-0093
On from May 30, 2014 – April 6, 2015 at the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization), step aboard this once-splendid ocean liner and travel back in time to a pivotal period in Canadian history, when economic activity was booming, and when the Empress of Ireland and her sister ship, the Empress of Britain, brought hundreds of thousands of immigrants to our shores. Experience the atmosphere of celebration following the ship’s from the docks of the City of Québec, the confused encounter in the fog, the fateful collision with the collier and the desperate rush to escape the sinking vessel. Artifacts like the ship’s bell and compass, and eyewitness accounts like the memoir of an eight-year-old survivor, help bring to life stories of loss and rescue, despair and bravery, that were all part of the greatest maritime disaster in Canadian history.
On from December 5, 2014 - April 30, 2015, journey to the Arctic and challenge your perceptions at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Interactive experiences, photos, videos and real specimens convey that the Arctic is more than just snow—it is land, water, and ice. This exhibition is a forerunner for a new permanent Arctic gallery at the museum to open in 2017 in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Image Credit: Susanne Miller / USFWS
Through 2015 at Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Created by the Canadian Space Agency this exhibit features great hands-on interactive activities for the kids including a computerized game that lets you assemble a space meal. Place your hand on an astronaut’s hand print surrounding a giant rotating globe to learn more about them and other fun facts from space. Find out how able you would be at working in a weightless environment. Check out the various objects, replicas and components used daily by astronauts during a mission. Fun for the family and kids of all ages.
Thirty-five years later, relive Terry Fox’s heroic Marathon of Hope in the largest exhibition of its kind. Through a wide array of artifacts, share Terry Fox’s daily experience during his 147 days and 5,000 km long journey from St. John’s to Thunder Bay. On from April 3, 2015 - January 24, 2016 at the Canadian Museum of History (formerly Canadian Museum of Civilization).
© Gail Harvey, La Fondation Terry Fox / Terry Fox Foundation