13 war artists!
Dec 9, 2010
tonight at the A Brush With War art opening at the National War Museum, 13 war artists and 500 mil/civs gathered. speeches. and my beloved daughter, the one whose support has never waned (“finish what you started mom” she urged me when I believed I could no longer go on), she escorted our special guest the Hon. Flora MacDonald around the exhibit. how wonderful to see the great woman with the young woman in training. thank you E, thank you Flora.
also in attendance as a special guest was Judy Davies, the aunt of our lost soldier, Lt. Andrew Nuttall. Judy contacted me after Andrew’s death to ask permission that her daughters could read my poem, On the Loss of Andrew Nuttall, at his funeral. I knew Andrew. he was with Delta Coy, the rifle company I spent time with in Canada and A’stan.
the CO, “my” CO and his wife came too as my guests. without LCol Walsh’s invitation to come all the way with 1PPCLI on their road to war this work of mine would have been bare. thanks to him I spent thousands of hours in all conditions and with all the support trades as well as the rifle companies.
when I said yes I had no idea where all of this would lead me – Shilo, Suffield, WWx, mess dinners, private homes, memorial services, funerals, promotions, KAF, Mirage, Edmonton, Octoberfest with a bunch of naval clearance divers, Rem. Day with the suffering. celebrations. betrayals. joy. tears. fear. elation. pain. new life. new family. losses. gains. wisdom. stupidity. compassion.
after the reception a handful of war artists went for drinks. so used to working alone, not quite used to being in peers’ company. all of us so very different. yet there’s somewhere we’ve all been. we understand. we looked at one another through the ballistics of our trades – poet, painters, graphic novelists. and recognize that each and every one of us war artists has literally put our lives on the line for our work. because we believe in something. because we are listening to something greater than ourselves. and none of us. NONE OF US. is here to glorify the unglorifiable.
and why do we do this? what are we working for? not money. not fame. not recognition by our fellow Canadian artists that’s for sure. I speak only for myself. but this thing called war, and those that engage, and this witness to the valour and the suffering, all of it I feel called to. and despite hardship and pain, tonight it all seems worth it.