Women war artists at the forefront of newest exhibition at the Canadian War Museum

May 23, 2024


Ottawa, Ontario, May 23, 2024 — Immerse yourself in the world of women war artists and explore how their voices have evolved over time through the art they created. Outside the Lines – Women Artists and War delves into the different perspectives on war and Canada’s military history, shaped by the artists’ unique experiences and identities.

Outside the Lines, the newest exhibition at the Canadian War Museum, offers a fascinating and unique look at war through the eyes of 52 women artists and their responses to Canada’s armed conflict. The exhibition showcases nearly two centuries of art in over 70 works drawn primarily from the Beaverbrook Collection of War Art, one of the finest collections of military art in the world. Featuring a variety of media — from painting, drawing, sculpture and textiles to photography and film — many of the works are by luminaries such as Molly Lamb Bobak, Paraskeva Clark, Daphne Odjig, Rosalie Favell and Gertrude Kearns.

Outside the Lines is a fresh and engaging look at this country’s military history through the eyes of women,” said James Whitham, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “Women have traditionally been overlooked in accounts of wars. With this important exhibition, we are proud to be shining a much-deserved spotlight on women artists and their perspectives.”

In addition to presenting scenes of military life, the exhibition examines more difficult and at times unexpected subject matter. The destruction of the Beothuk community is documented in drawings by Beothuk artist Shanawdithit. The internment of Japanese Canadians is challenged in paintings by Lillian Yano Blakey. Pet gerbils play the role of American draft resisters recounting their escape to Canada in an experimental film by Joyce Wieland. An all-Black battalion is commemorated in a quilt by Ozell and George Borden. And there are knitted landmines by Barb Hunt.

The exhibition is divided into four chronological and thematic zones, with an introduction and a conclusion, presenting artworks from the 19th century to the present day. The final zone features artwork created specifically for the exhibition. Produced by the War Museum’s first-ever artist-in-residence, Elise Lavallee Findlay, this new work is a link that ties the past, present and future of war art together, and is also a reflection upon the war art and the artists in the exhibition.

Unique and stimulating activities will be offered to the public throughout the exhibition. In fact, the first activity, an engaging evening of conversation on art and conflict with artists who continue to break boundaries in their work, will take place on Friday, May 24, starting at 6 p.m. To learn more about this activity or to consult the complete list of programming, please visit warmuseum.ca.

Outside the Lines will be presented at the Canadian War Museum from May 24, 2024 to January 5, 2025, in the Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae Gallery.

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 the financial support of the Government of Canada.