National Visions, National Blindness: Canadian Art and Identities in the 1920s

Overview

In the early decades of the twentieth century, Canada sought to define itself as an independent dominion with allegiance to the British Empire. The visual arts were considered central to the formation of a distinct national identity, and the Group of Seven's landscapes became part of a larger program to unify the nation and assert its uniqueness. National Visions, National Blindness traces the development of this program and illuminates its conflicted history.

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Overview

In the early decades of the twentieth century, Canada sought to define itself as an independent dominion with allegiance to the British Empire. The visual arts were considered central to the formation of a distinct national identity, and the Group of Seven's landscapes became part of a larger program to unify the nation and assert its uniqueness. National Visions, National Blindness traces the development of this program and illuminates its conflicted history.

Using newly discovered archival evidence, Leslie Dawn revises common interpretations of several well-known events and rescues others from obscurity. He problematizes conventional perceptions of the Group as a national school and underscores the contradictions inherent in international exhibitions showing unpeopled landscapes alongside Northwest Coast Native arts and the "Indian" paintings of Langdon Kihn and Emily Carr. Dawn examines how this dichotomy forced a re-evaluation of the place of First Nations in both Canadian art and nationalism.

National Visions, National Blindness is an elegantly written work offering new and insightful analysis, and will be of great interest to readers and researchers of Canadian art history, First Nations art and history, tourism, cultural politics, museum studies, and ethnographic practices.

University of Washington Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780774812184
  • Publisher: University of British Columbia Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2007
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 5.91 (w) x 8.47 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Leslie Dawn is professor of art at the University of Lethbridge.

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Canadian Art in England2. England in Canadian Art3. Canadian Art in Paris4. Canadian Primitives in Paris5. Barbeau and Kihn with the Stoney in Alberta6. Barbeau and Kihn with the Gitxsan in British Columbia7. Giving Gitxsan Totem Poles a New Slant8. Representing and Repossessing the Skeena Valley9. West Coast Art, Native and Modern10. The Downfall of Barbeau11. Revisiting CarrConclusionNotesBibliographyIllustration CreditsIndex

University of Washington Press

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