Remembrance Day Toolkit Remembrance Day Toolkit
Suggested Activities

Researching Canada's Wartime Artists

Art plays a major role in the social and cultural aspects of our lives. From art galleries to commercial billboards, from propaganda to computer screen savers, art surrounds and stimulates us.

Changes in art have often mirrored political changes. For example, while political ideologies such as fascism, communism and capitalism were on a collision course in the first half of the 20TH century, many new artistic movements, like futurism, dada, cubism, constructivism and surrealism were shocking the art world. In times of military conflict, some artists fled war either out of fear or for moral and/or political reasons. Others enlisted in the military and brought their talents to the front lines.

The artists on this list include those known for their work on the First World War, Second World War, Korean War and Gulf War. Have each student choose one Canadian war artist from the list below:

Molly Lamb Bobak
Alex Colville
Frederic Varley
Joseph Sampson
George Pepper
John Turnbull
Lawren Harris
Orville Fisher
Jack Nichols
Henrietta Mabel May
Alfred Leete
Eric Aldwinkle
Charles Comfort
Paul Goranson
Thomas Wood
Alfred Munnings
Thomas H. Beament
Edward "Ted" Zuber

For each artist, the student should research:

  • the artist's background (date and place of birth, education, career, etc.)
  • the style of the artist and examples of his/her work
  • how the experience of war affected the artist's work

Finally, the student should to provide a personal interpretation of the artist's work by discussing a favourite painting.

The finished product can either be in the form of a research paper, an oral presentation or a poster-collage for public display.

    Date created: October 27, 2006 | Last updated: October 7, 2009