A Visual Debate
Carl Beam & Frederick Hagan
January 14 - March 19, 2017
Exhibition reception: Sunday March 5, 2-4pm
This exhibition examines commonly held perceptions about European exploration in Canada, seeking a better understanding of the significant and lasting effect that explorers had on the land and on Indigenous peoples.
Between 1986 and 1989 Canada Post issued the Exploration of Canada stamps, sixteen images reproduced from paintings by Frederick Hagan. Research for the project piqued Hagan’s curiosity and he continued to work on related subjects. His lithographic portfolio, Exploration, depicts the journeys of 18 explorers, the landscapes and people they encountered; and the consequences of their actions. The works reflect a traditional, euro-centric view of the exploration and settlement of Canada.
Carl Beam devoted much of his career to expressing the experience of Indigenous peoples in this confrontation of cultures. Beam often used small mixed media works on paper, including the ones on display, much like a sketch book or preliminary drawings, to develop the imagery for his major works. The wide range of motifs, materials and textual fragments that appear in his works provide numerous points of intersection with Hagan’s lithographs.
By featuring these two powerful voices in Across This Mighty Land we seek to show how the history that has divided us can, through thought and understanding, be used to initiate conversations with the potential to bring us together. After hundreds of years of division, conflict and occasional agreement, examining these two perspectives on Canadian history will be a provocative launch for our sesquicentennial programming.
Guest essayist, Nedda Baba, an emerging arts professional based in Toronto, will draw on her own experience as a recent arrival to help guide the conversation. All works in the exhibition are in the GPAG collection.
This exhibition has been generously sponsored by the Grimsby Historical Society