Artists — visual, musical, literary and theatrical —have been exploring the Canadian identity for as long as there’s been a name for this vast country.
Often overshadowed by our big neighbours to the south, and existing as a multicultural, multilingual, geographically diverse land, means it’s sometimes difficult to answer the question, “What the heck is Canadian anyway?”
Don Monet, artist and curator of Cube Gallery, decided to seek an answer by gathering together the work of 10 Canadian artists, who are as varied and diverse in style as the many provinces that make up our nation.
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“I think that the exhibit has described a Canadian in many ways,” Monet says. “Here you will find the school of landscape as well as the new landscape of the urban environment.”
Featured artists include Andrew King, whose flair for the comedic can be seen in his almost cartoon-style images. Monet says King’s new series is especially interesting because of hidden images that serve as a kind of “Da Vinci Code for Ottawa folks.”
Chelsea, Quebec-born Rebecca Mason incorporates iconic Canadian images like trees, mountains and canoes into her work, while Nova Scotia native Anne Alcorn paints vivid landscapes and intricate forests.
Photographer Mike Steinhauer uses inspiration that’s especially close to home with creative depictions of Parliament Hill.
Monet says he hopes the art will inspire visitors to think about themselves as Canadians in the context of the world.
“Are we just mini-me Americans?” he asks. “Or are we the more European, thoughtful, peaceful and polite people that we have previously been known as?”
The Canadiana exhibit runs through Feb. 25. And from Feb. 22-24, the gallery serves as an intimate theatre setting for the staging of Michel Tremblay’s play Forever Yours Marie-Lou.
Cube Gallery, located at 7 Hamilton Ave. N, is open for viewing Wednesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
Visit www.cubegallery.cafor more information.