The Battle of Vimy Ridge has been called a defining moment for Canada, when the Canadian military demonstrated true independence from Britain and earned an effective and formidable reputation. After weeks of planning and training to capture the difficult German held position, in the early morning of April 9, 1917, all four Canadian divisions attacked Vimy Ridge as a rolling barrage.
In painting a mural of such a significant event in Canada's history where many lives were lost, I wanted to focus on just that; the immediate mortality of what it might be like to be there. While the Battle of Vimy Ridge now has no shortage of political and historical meanings, the soldiers who were actually there and made our current understanding possible would have had their own experiences, in horrific conditions, independent of contemporary promotions. In a terrible war, I wanted to paint my military, a century ago, in just another day of what could be expected of them.
This mural was painted in my studio on aluminum composite panels that were installed on location at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 44, in Whitecourt, Alberta. The primary movement of this artwork is up and to the left, a deliberately uneasy direction for the eye to travel as we read left to right, to underscore the difficulty of this mission.
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