(London, Ontario, 1936 – London, Ontario, 1992)
Map of North America
India ink on paper
29.5 x 22.2 cm
Purchased from The Third Dalhousie Drawing Exhibition, 1978
Dalhousie Art Gallery, 1978-2
© Estate of Greg Curnoe / SODRAC (2018)
Photo: Steve Farmer Photography
Map of North America is the first of several maps made by Greg Curnoe. This one, in which he expresses his anti-Americanism by eliminating the United States, dates from a time when many artists, like Joyce Wieland, were concerned about American cultural imperialism. Along with the names of North and Central American countries, it includes those of remote places like the Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon archipelago and the uninhabited Clipperton Island. This reflects the artist’s advocacy on behalf of regions far from major urban centres. While works like this one address Canada’s place in North America, much of Curnoe’s art is rooted in the everyday life of his hometown, London, Ontario.
The focus of much attention in the 1960s, Greg Curnoe was an ardent nationalist who believed Canadian identity lay in the multiplicity and diversity of regional cultures. He found subjects in the everyday activities of his surroundings. Although his bright colours show the influence of Pop art, Curnoe was chiefly inspired by the anarchy and humour of Dada. A cultural community activist, he led the founding of the artist-run Region Gallery, the alternative 20/20 and Forest City galleries and the Region magazine.