“I believe people have an ability to find beauty and hope, even amidst the horrors of war. This exhibition examines human nature in wartime through a series of artistic representations, multisensory experiences and portraits of ten Canadians who were involved in the First World War.
Optical crystal sculptures created by Mark Raynes Roberts portray scenes that illustrate different aspects of human nature while scents developed by Alexandra Bachand evoke personal memory.
WAR Flowers is inspired by the pressed flowers picked by George Stephen Cantlie in the gardens, fields and hedges of war-torn Europe and sent to his baby daughter in Montreal. I examine these century-old flowers using floriography, a method of communicating emotion through flowers, to tell the story of human nature in the landscape of war.”
– Viveka Melki, curator
Credits and Acknowledgements
The WAR Flowers exhibition is a production of Reford Gardens.
This project has been made possible by the Government of Canada and private partners.
WAR Flowers wishes to thank the Montreal Botanical Garden Library for access to its collection of antique books, the source of the botanical illustrations used in this exhibition as well as the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul for allowing the theme song of WAR Flowers to be recorded there.
We also wish to express our gratitude to the Canadian War Museum whose staff offered support and expertise throughout the research and preparation of this exhibition.
Special thanks to artisan Mathieu Jean for his significant contribution to the realization of the exhibition.