War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

War Artist

reading Testaments of Honour: Personal Histories of Canada’s War Veterans by Blake Heathcote. Heathcote x-crossed the country recording WWII vets’ oral histories.
funny and harrowing at once – especially the stories of Canadians in the Japanese POW camps. we know about their rough go, their starvation and violent cruelty acted against them, but reading first person narratives told by men 60 years after the fact, is tough and ugly and vital.

one of the less troublesome histories is the great Canadian painter Alex Colville’s . his road to theatre as a war artist was a convoluted one, but in 1944 he flew from Canada to Glasgow, railed to London, headed into theatre as a full time war artist.

I’m very interested in what he says:

We were given complete freedom. Many people will find this hard to believe, but I was given complete carte blanche. No one said, “You’ve got to make us look good and the Germans look bad,” or anything like that, which you might have expected”.

nobody told us what to paint or write. I guess it’s a Canadian tradition that goes back to at least Colville’s time.


1 Comment (Closed)

Cindy Revell

How lucky we are to have the freedom to make our art however we see fit, thanks to those who fought for that freedom.

Oct 19 2012 · 07:19

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled War Artist. It was posted here on October 18, 2012.

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