When William MacDonnell followed Canadian soldiers as an embedded artist, it wasn’t always a pretty picture.
He remembers a graveyard in Croatia: “The extent of hatred here was really quite hard to believe … You could look down into the tombs and see where they had actually opened up the tombs, pulled peoples’ ancestors out and scattered their bones all over.”
MacDonnell’s paintings and those of other official Canadian war artists appear in A Brush with War: Military Art from Korea to Afghanistan, opening at the Canadian War Museum today and running until March 20.
MacDonnell said his strongest memories of Croatia and Afghanistan are of the accessibility of the soldiers.
“You could ask any questions you wanted. But I think it was also prefaced by the fact that I said ‘We’re not media.’”