Outside the Lines – Women Artists and War

June 26, 2024
Maintenance Jobs in the Hangar, 1945 - CWM 19710261-5678

Paraskeva Clark – Maintenance Jobs in the Hangar, 1945 – CWM 19710261-5678 – Beaverbrook Collection of War Art – Canadian War Museum

Women artists experienced war in distinct ways. Through their art, they reflect different perspectives on war and Canada’s military history, influenced by their own lived experiences and identities. Outside the Lines, which opened on May 24, 2024, is the Museum’s latest and most extensive look at war and conflict through the eyes of women artists.

Drawing primarily upon the renowned Beaverbrook Collection of War Art, the exhibition features 65 works by 55 artists, created over a period of nearly 200 years.

The exhibition opens with 19th-century watercolours by women attached to the military, coupled with harrowing works depicting the impact of colonial conflicts on Indigenous women. This is followed by a look at the expanding roles of women during the First and Second World Wars, in works by iconic Canadian artists such as Molly Lamb Bobak, Paraskeva Clark, and Lilias Torrance Newton.

One of the exhibition’s larger sections features the work of contemporary artists. In paintings, photography, sculpture, video and more, artists such as Joyce Wieland, Daphne Odjig, Rosalie Favell, Anique Jordan, Lillian Michiko Yano and Gertrude Kearns dissect narratives around protest, tradition, commemoration, and injustice.

Outside the Lines is far more than a historical overview,” says James Whitham, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “Whether depicting scenes from a 19th century uprising, women working in a First World War factory, or present-day Canadian Rangers patrolling the Far North, the exhibition offers a fresh and unique look at conflict through the eyes of women.”

Outside the Lines also features a work by the War Museum’s first-ever artist-in- residence. Selected from more than 60 applicants, Elise Lavallee Findlay is an Alberta-based artist whose practice explores community, place, identity, and the intricacies of human interaction with the world.

Working with the exhibition team, she reflected upon the show’s themes, while also exploring the Museum’s collections. The resulting work is displayed in the final zone of the exhibition, where visitors are invited to reflect upon how the voices of women war artists have evolved over time.

Outside the Lines will be presented in the Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae Gallery at the Canadian War Museum until January 5, 2025.

The artist residency for this exhibition was generously supported by the Friends of the Canadian War Museum.