SOURCE: University of Calgary

University of Calgary

September 17, 2015 10:00 ET

Wartime silkscreens: supporting soldiers through art

Exhibition explores how artists enriched the lives of Canadian troops during the Second World War

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - September 17, 2015) - During the Second World War, vibrant silkscreens brightened the living quarters of Canadian soldiers, enriching their lives with images of Canadian landscapes. It was a unique way for Canada's best-known artists to show support for the troops.

Now, nearly 100 of these pieces by A.J. Casson, Emily Carr, Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, Charles Comfort and Tom Thomson, and almost 50 others, have gone on display in the University of Calgary's Founders' Gallery at The Military Museums. The exhibition Barracks to Banks: Canadian Silkscreens for War and Peace opens tomorrow.

Canadian artist A.Y. Jackson initiated the silkscreen project in 1942. While the art was initially intended for soldiers during a time of conflict, it became popular after the war for display in banks, schools, libraries and other public buildings.

The majority of pieces are on loan from the Pegasus Gallery of Canadian Art on Salt Spring Island, B.C. Gallery. Owner Ian Sigvaldason collaborated with Sharman to make the pieces accessible to the broader community because of their historical value and contribution to Canadian national identity.

The exhibition includes the oil version of A. J. Casson's iconic silkscreen White Pine. The piece, on display for the first time in Alberta, is on loan from the McMichael Collection of Canadian Art in Ontario. Barracks to Banksalso includes a piece by Douglas Coupland that was inspired by this Second World War initiative. The exhibition runs until January 2016.

WHAT: Media preview of Barracks to Banks: Canadian Silkscreens for War and Peace

WHEN: Friday, September 18, 2015 10:00 a.m. to noon

WHERE: The Military Museums of Calgary - University of Calgary Founders' Gallery
4520 Crowchild Trail SW

Please note the traffic detour in effect due to road construction at Flanders Avenue and Crowchild Trail.

WHO: Tom Hickerson, vice-provost (Libraries and Cultural Resources), University of Calgary
Lindsey Charman, curator, University of Calgary Founders' Gallery, The Military Museums
Ian Sigvaldason, exhibition facilitator and owner, Pegasus Gallery of Canadian Art

About the University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is a leading Canadian university located in the nation's most enterprising city. The university has a clear strategic direction to become one of Canada's top five research universities by 2016, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.' For more information, visit Stay up to date with University of Calgary news headlines on Twitter @UCalgary. For details on faculties and how to reach experts go to our media center at

Contact Information

  • Media Contact
    Jennifer Sowa - Manager, Communications and Marketing
    Libraries and Cultural Resources, University of Calgary