Fourteen portraits reveal personal legacies of war at the Canadian War Museum

September 23, 2021


Ottawa, Ontario, September 23, 2021 — A new exhibition at the Canadian War Museum conveys the Second World War’s extraordinary and sometimes devastating effects on veterans and survivors from the Ottawa area. Homage – The Art of Elaine Goble features 14 portraits that capture the personal legacies of Second World War veterans and survivors the artist has met throughout her career.

“Elaine Goble’s portraits testify to the physical, psychological and emotional impacts of conflict in deeply personal ways,” said Caroline Dromaguet, Interim President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History and Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “Though most of the subjects are from the Ottawa area, their personal experiences are reflective of the experiences of many Canadians from other parts of the country.”

In 1995, Goble was inspired to draw six veterans she encountered at a Remembrance Day service. Three years later, she depicted her eight-year-old daughter politely distracted while an elderly woman described her family’s wartime experiences. Goble realized her daughter had no understanding of conflict and its effects on survivors, and shifted her artistic focus to exploring the consequences of war.

Other portraits include those of a fighter pilot who lost his voice but not his outsized personality, a wireless telegraphist who intercepted signals from German U-boats and later advocated for equal rights for women in the military, and a female impersonator who entertained the troops as a member of the Canadian Army’s “Tin Hats.” One long-married couple met while serving with the British Royal Navy and the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service, while another built their lives in Canada after surviving multiple concentration camps.

The most recent work on display in this exhibition is a powerful portrait of Private Philip Favel, a 98-year-old Cree veteran from Sweetgrass First Nation in Saskatchewan. He took part in the Normandy invasion in 1944 and, after the war, fought for equal compensation for Indigenous veterans. Mr. Favel passed away in January 2021, only a few months after the painting was unveiled at the Canadian War Museum.

Goble’s highly realistic paintings and drawings are inspired by her conversations and photography sessions with her subjects, most of whom were introduced to her by people she knew within the Ottawa community. By integrating personal objects and images, she draws attention to the memories and trauma of war.

Homage – The Art of Elaine Goble, created by the Canadian War Museum in collaboration with the artist, is presented from September 24 to December 12, 2021 in the North Corridor.

Visitors are strongly encouraged to book their tickets to visit. Admission on site without a pre-booked ticket is available only on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information about safety measures at the Museum and to book tickets, please visit

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national and international dimensions. Work of the Canadian War Museum is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.


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Avra Gibbs Lamey
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