Witness: Canadian Art of the First World War explores how the First World War was documents in Canadian art, both at home and overseas. Supported by National Presenting Sponsor, TD Bank Group, this unforgettable exhibition, which marks the First World War’s centenary, give Canadians an opportunity to view never-before-seen paintings and drawings by commissioned wartime artists and artist-soldiers.
The travelling exhibition is comprise of deeply personal testimonies and documentary records of the conflict. With very few exceptions, the works on display in Witness are from the War Museum’s Beaverbrook Collection of War Art. They include both large canvasses completed by artists hired by the Canadian War Memorials Fund and intimate soldiers’ sketches made from behind the front lines and in prisoner-of-war camps.
The exhibition includes a number of official war art pieces by renowned artists, A.Y. Jackson, Frederick Varley, David Milne and Mabel May.
Many of the more personal drawings and paintings were done by soldier-artists and have remained in private family collections until they were donated to the Canadian War Museum. This is the first time these works will be on public display.
Divided into four sections including, Canadians at War, Tools of War, Ruins of War and Landscapes of War, the exhibition showcases how artists responded to the environment around them and underlies the importance of art as a record of the harsh realities and consequences of war.