The Canadian War Museum possesses one of the finest twentieth-century official war art collections in the world. Until relatively recently, however, the collection has received limited public attention. In Art or Memorial?, author Laura Brandon explores some of the reasons why this may have been the case.
At various times throughout its history, the war art collection has receded from and re-emerged in the nation’s collective consciousness. Nevertheless, as an invaluable part of the official record of war in Canada, it is profoundly significant. Brandon argues that the value of the collection lies less in its artistic merit and more in its role as a site of memory.
Art or Memorial? seeks to illuminate Canadian war art’s sometimes-hidden presence in the nation’s memory and to show, through both its presence and its absence, how it helped to shape, and will continue to influence, how we remember as a nation.
A valuable contribution to our understanding of an important part of Canadian history.
—John MacFarlane, Canadian Military Journal
A welcome contribution to the debate regarding memory and violence in Canada. With its large format and many illustrations, the book becomes another site for the kind of meaning making—weather aesthetic or commemorative—Brandon has set out to examine.
—Rebecca Campbell, Canadian Literature