It's Not the Destination, It's the Journey: Art of the Expedition in Nineteenth Century Canada I

Next 5Conclusion
Introduction 08644 M459 I-7336.1 08697
 

Introduction

Nineteenth century Canada was a place of tremendous growth and change, requiring dynamic artists to keep pace with the demands of its reconfiguring borders. These intrepid figures, such as Paul Kane, William Hind and Frances Anne Hopkins, exceeded the conventional identity of the "itinerant artist" (Simmins 30 September 2008) joining their lot with government- aided expeditions of nationalistic significance. These artists travelled not only to seek work, which would have been assured for Kane and Hind as commercial sign painters, or Hopkins who could have more easily retired to her role as a Victorian housewife, but to seek insight into an exciting new frontier. After the advent of photography, art came into question in terms of its relevance as both a historical document, and a tool capable of contributing to the scientific inquiry and geological surveys that were underway. Art ultimately proved itself invaluable to the Canadian Nationalistic agenda, as artists like Kane, Hind and Hopkins's images functioned to demystify the new nation and promote the viability of immigration. The personal interpretations of artists became a premium in their own right, offering viewers glimpses of Native and Voyageur life that were perhaps not "realer than real" (as in photography) but certainly "truer than true" (Simmins 14 October 2008.)