Home Making History
Past Exhibition

Making History


October 7, 2023


January 21, 2024


Confederation Centre Art Gallery

The Exhibition

This exhibition presents artistic interpretations of historical events, selected from the collection of Confederation Centre Art Gallery. Including work from the 19th century to the present, Making History demonstrates the participation of Canadian artists in the creation of compelling and vivid images of the past. Whether contending with the myth-laden legacy of Louis Riel, the tragic drama of the great wars of the 20th century, or the October Crisis of 1970, artists shape and complicate our understanding of Canadian history.

Curated by Pan Wendt, artists include Edward Poitras, Jeff Funnell, Rémi Belliveau, Robert Houle, John Fox, George Thresher, Allan Harding Mackay, Jack Turner, Arthur Lismer, George Pepper, Pegi Nicol Macleod, Dennis Tourbin, and David Haigh.

Interview with Pan Wendt, Curator 

How have Canadian artists interpreted key events in our nation’s history? In what ways does art have the power to shape how we understand history? Confederation Centre Art Gallery publications coordinator Trevor Corkum recently spoke with gallery curator Pan Wendt about the CCAG’s current exhibition, Making History.

Tell us more about the show Making History. What themes and ideas are you exploring? 

The show’s title presents history as a process of creation. Not only do our choices shape events, but we also have agency in how we represent them. The past, and our understanding of it, is an ongoing negotiation that produces the conditions of the present.

How does visual art help shape how we understand Canadian history?

As shapers of representation, artists have a powerful role to play in this process of storytelling and interpretation. The works in this show, which come from the collection, involve representations by artists of historical events, many of them conflicts such as wars or disputes over sovereignty.

Tell us about a current piece in the show and why it speaks to you personally.

One exceptional work in this show that really stands out for me is Pegi Nicol McLeod’s depiction of the World War II victory parade in New York. She depicts the parade as a collective celebration but takes care to emphasize not only the official fanfare, but the people watching from the windows of the tenements overlooking the street.

This was her neighborhood, and as someone living in difficult conditions, she identified with the lives of her neighbors. She emphasizes her own subjective view of the events but aligns them with a particular collectivity of viewers whose experience she chooses to validate and elevate to the centre of the narrative.