Introduction

three canadian artworks This painting portrays a black woman turned three-quarters to the right and looking in that direction. Simply dressed in an orange top and blue jacket, she stands out against a solid turquoise background. Two computer-generated characters are seen face to face in profile. On the left is a soldier wearing a helmet and a bullet-proof vest. On the right is a man with his face masked by a scarf. Behind them we see barbwire and a forest. This photograph shows a porcelain kitchen sink in close-up. In the sink are a plate, a cup, a cream pitcher, a knife and two glass bottles. The spout of a metal teakettle at the right of the photo counterbalances the metal faucet in the upper left corner.

The virtual exhibition 150 Years | 150 Works: Canadian Art as Historical Act presents art as an integral part of Canada’s social and political history.

It looks at Canada through works that have in some way shaped or changed the country’s history over the past century and a half.

Most but not all of the works in this panorama are presented according to their year of production: here and there, diverging from chronological order serves to recast historical relationships and challenge traditional perceptions.

Drawn from the collections of major museums, university galleries and private collections, the exhibited works include both well-known icons and little-known surprises. Brief texts discuss each one and interpret the context in which it was madeSupplemental descriptions and images provide a deeper understanding in some cases.

A Few Ways to Explore the Exhibition

You can visit the exhibition by following a timeline of Canadian history or by randomly browsing a mosaic of images that often leads to unexpected juxtapositions.

You can also follow the threads suggested by four categories: representing history, making history, expanding history and reopening history.

Being open-ended, these categories foster exploration of and reflection on Canadian art as historical act.

Use this interactive exhibition to establish your own take on history by selecting works that pique your interest or your curiosity. Then reshape history from your own perspective.