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Dark Matter: The Great War and Fading Memory

November 3, 2007 - January 6, 2008

AWE Gallery

For many Canadians, the First World War stands as a seminal event in their country’s emergence as a nation on the world stage. The actions of the country’s soldiers in battles such as Ypres, Passchendaele and Vimy Ridge marked Canada as a nation in its own right. Exhibition curator Andrew Hunter says this mythic narrative seems almost inevitable and necessary considering the phenomenal losses to communities across Canada. Its telling often masked a broader understanding of the conflict and filled the void of silence emanating from veterans, widows, orphans and parents of soldiers killed in battle.

In his exhibition text, Hunter writes that the First World War was characterized by extreme violence, both in its scale and mechanization, and by trench battles that contradicted the ‘gentlemanly’ traditions of warfare that lingered into the first decades of the 20th century. Soldiers were nevertheless seen as sacrificing  themselves through a noble death on the battlefield. Hunter explores the psychological void left in the descendants of veterans, and the ever growing mass of conflicting historical interpretation. Rooted in a consideration of the impossibility of ‘truth’ in war and its remembrance, Dark matter brings together period and contermporary art, artifacts and music in a poetic reflection on the drive to fill the void in the wake of war.

Major historical paintings by such artists as David Milne, A.Y.Jackson, Paul Nash, Maurice Cullen, F.H.Varley and Jack Turner will be included, as will work by contemporary artists Allan Harding MacKay, Dianne Bus and Peter MacCallum.

Organized and circulated by the Confederation Centre of the Arts, Charlottetown, PEI, with the support of the Musuems Assitance Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

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