Remembrance Day / Painting
Returning as a Bird
Taken prisoner during the Battle for Hong Kong in December 1941, Signalman William Allister endured horrific treatment at the hands of his Japanese captors.
For decades, Allister was tormented by memories of his suffering as a prisoner of war. In 1983, he resolved to come to terms with his wartime experiences. He and his wife, Mona, travelled to Japan, where they immersed themselves in Japanese culture. They also met the family of one of his former captors. This trip allowed him to let go of the hatred he had been carrying.
Allister expressed his new-found peace in his art, combining Japanese and Western artistic traditions. This painting features a peacock, which symbolized the enlightened warrior. That is how he came to see himself.
- Date Made 1983
- Associated Persons Signalman William Allister
- Institution Canadian War Museum
- Collection Beaverbrook Collection of War Art
- Object No. 20170667-001
- Medium Oil on canvas