Introduction

three canadian artworks This still life painting depicts three glistening fish, a pear, an apple and two dark blue vases. They are set against a white and turquoise background. Linda is a white plaster statue of a woman standing with her bare feet firmly planted on the ground and her hands behind her back. She is wearing a simple dress and looking straight ahead with a determined expression. This close-up painting depicts a forest floor of tangled rocks and tree trunks in the foreground. The composition is so close to abstraction that it is difficult to discern a landscape in the winding green lines and areas of flat black, grey and white.

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.