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“They Sleep Silently So We May Freely Speak”, Oil on Masonite, 22" x 28".
This painting presents many symbols associated with “Remembrance Day” celebrations honouring Canadians who fought wars on behalf of all Canadians to ensure freedoms in Canadian society. As a high
school teacher in Ottawa I co-ordinated many Remembrance Day ceremonies and I wanted to express my feelings concerning “Remembrance Day”.
The orange clouds represent the infamous use of gas against Canadians in WW1. Geneva conventions would outlaw such weapons. James McFall, a great uncle of artist Patrick Mason suffered many years from the painful consequences of mustard gas attacks.
The canons represent modern artillery used in warfare.
The medals represent different wars Canadian forces fought. The large Bronze disc was given to the family of soldiers killed in WW1. The name on this particular medal is that of my great-uncle, Andrew McFall.
Force: Army Unit: Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regiment) Division: 46th Bn.
Date and Place of Birth: February 5, 1889
Son of James and Lucretia McFall, of Pendleton, Ontario.
Cemetery: CONTAY BRITISH CEMETERY; Somme, France Grave Reference: IV. E. 2.
Commemorated on Page 125 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.
In Flanders Fields by Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander McCrae, MD is hand written as was the original version which is now a Canadian iconic poem. The crosses row on row, the larks flying bravely; the poppies between the crosses are representative of this most famous poem. Embedded in gold is the title of the painting “They Sleep Silently So We May Freely Speak”, which verbalizes the immense concept for which Canadians sacrificed their lives so society could live freely.
The Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa, Vimy Ridge, France, and Nijmegen, the Netherlands, are depicted in the painting.
‘Lest We Forget’ and the “Poppy” are two symbols revered by Canadians.
I was particularly inspired to create this painting from experiences of my past. My first memory of ‘Remembrance Day’ was as a pre-schooler when my mother took me to the War Memorial in Ottawa and I watched as thousands and thousands of veterans marched past. That would be 1955. My first art inspiration was from a meeting and an art class of war artist and art instructor Robert S. Hyndman in 1972. The many Remembrance Day activities I coordinated as a high school teacher under some trying conditions entice me to encourage the teaching of Canadian values. I continue to believe that this one day a year, November 11, should be taught as a solemn day of recognition to those that gave of themselves’ for the freedom we enjoy in Canada.
"In Memory of Dr. Howard Anthony Francis (Peter) Blackwood": Oil on Masonite, 20" x 24", Private Collection Of The Artist
Dorothy, you are blessed with the countless memories of love, admiration and respect from Peter.
Fabia, you were always Peter’s rock, and as you carry on, all his wonderful traits that you also share, will remind all of us of Peter.
To: Lyndsey, Naomi and Aleyah, my sincere condolences on this sad occasion. Let your dad’s and granddad’s strength guide you into your futures.
Lloyd, Locksley, Leighton and Lisa, find strength knowing a great man loved you dearly.
As a dentist Peter excelled in his craft. It is incredible how eager people were to have the opportunity to have Peter as their dentist. He was amazing at asking questions with his hand in your mouth! Then he would say hum hum hum! He would quietly mumble something and out of nowhere would appear the desired instruments or filling concoctions! His dental assistants are mind-readers. He was generous, kind, and extremely proud of those in his dental practise. His patients were in professional and caring hands as he tended his calling. He was always concerned with the total wellbeing of his patients. He was the first to investigate the leading technologies in dental care and Peter employed the newest tooling made available. He demanded excellence of himself and achieved the respect of his patients and staff.
Peter was a universal man. In his quiet manner he studied people as individuals and befriended many along his way. He loved philosophy and never shied away from any discussion concerning the unknown. He was always in pursuit of knowledge. He thrived on political discussions and the ideals of great individuals. He studied people and emphatically supported ideas of equality, kindness, understanding, liberty and respect. He particularly enjoyed, golf and tennis. He loved nature and fine art, and Hockey.
Peter was always asking inquisitive questions concerning great works of art and on the lives of the artists. He thoroughly enjoyed visiting galleries and studying the concepts presented in paintings and sculptures. He admired architecture. He visited major art shows and could converse intellectually on the individual works on view. He was a collector of fine art. He was always supporting the art world. His attire, especially his socks, presented an art work in themselves. He loved and had understanding of, the colour of Van Gogh, the draftsmanship of Picasso, The fluidity of Rodin, the creativity of Pissarro, the despair of Kathe Kollwitz, the enchantment of Chagall and the movement of Turner. He appreciated great music and theatre.
As a friend Peter was always kind, trustworthy, patient, humorous, generous, caring, supportive, thoughtful and empathetic. He loved being with his friends. His gentle, infectious laugh, his “OH MY MY”, his beaming smile, his culinary expertise, his fondness for card games and billiards always presented good times. Peter’s thorough enjoyment of life, his honest nature, his discussions will be fondly remembered by so many he touched along the way. He will live in my heart as I journey, lonelier, onward with happy memories of our past. Thank you, Peter, for your love and friendship.
"Ground Zero Memorial, Culture Can Never Justify Inequality Evil"
Oil on Masonite, 48" x 96".
Although confusing, I am using the death toll from this above information from
The number of Gold Stars symbolizing the victims excludes the terrorists.
The background includes the original twin towers in New York City.
The replacement light beams symbolize the eternal resilient stamina of Americans especially New Yorkers. This beam of light continues to entice reflection and thought on the 9/11 terrorist attack.
The purple indication of the replacement architecture symbolizes victory over evil. The good will rise on the embers of the evil as right elevates and the wrong remembered is erased but never forgotten.
The statement leaves no doubt to a philosophy of good over evil. CULTURE CAN NEVER JUSTIFY INEQUALITY EVIL.
The painting intends to present the evil of indoctrination and how so very few can cause so much damage to the masses. America welcomes all and they come in droves for a better life and a very few desire to impose their prejudices, inequalities, and ignorance that so many try to escape from in the first place.
The lower portion highlights again with purple for victory, firefighters who helped their fellow individuals at the ultimate cost of life trying to save lives rather than destroying life.
First responders symbol from the following web-site for 9/11 First responders symbols.
Twenty four Canadians fell on 9/11. Twenty-four stars are intersected with a green streak symbolizing the Northern Lights. A tiny poppy also designates the fallen Canadians.
My Story of 9/11
I was in a classroom at Woodroffe High School in Ottawa, Canada, teaching a history lesson when I received a call from the school librarian Brent Taylor, that I should immediately see the news. I went to a computer in time to see the second aircraft crash into the trade towers in New York City. Being a teacher of politics I was immediately confronted with the tragedy unfolding and realized that this was an act of war. A call to the office was made and Principal Katie Jarvis was summoned from a meeting outside the school. A short time later Principal Katie Jarvis called and questioned me as to what I thought was happening. After a brief conversation Principal Jarvis asked me to address all the students and staff in the Library and to take questions from the students. The school was summoned to the library and all the students gathered while I quickly gathered my thoughts and introduced them to the 9/11 disastrous attack on the Trade Towers in New York.
On my way to the library I was confronted with some cheering from students who had already heard the news and were appearing to cheer the evil perpetrated on the innocents in New York City. These were male students who attended Islamic readings in the school during the lunch time. They were extremely callous and noisy when confronted and had obviously been well indoctrinated by their families, religion and place of birth. I was absolutely disgusted with their behaviour. They were in Canada seeking a better life! They came from Islamic states.
After all the students were assembled in the Library I informed the students of the attacks in New York City. Many students became visibly shaken and asked questions. The first questions were. “Who would do this? Why? Are we in danger? What will America do? I have always been trusted by my students because I insist on truth. I told them that these were terrorists who hate freedom and were attacking a culture that believes in freedom. I mentioned many different groups who oppose freedom. I mentioned that all peoples who believe in the rights of women, people of different beliefs, sexual orientation, etc. were hated and could at anytime be attacked. I mentioned Pearl Harbour and explained that this day was similar and was ominous and a war would probably occur. Some female students addressed the smiles of their peers and brothers as they realized that those who cheered the 9/11 attacks were guilty of trying to continue the inequalities of their homelands. The female students were far more aware of the consequences. They still live the inequality in their own homes. The female students from Islamic states were quick to share their views on going back to their countries of birth. They would never want that former life of servitude. The boys use to talk about going back and having multiple wives. Teenage boys become the men of the future. The library session lasted about an hour and the students were sent to their lunch. During my afternoon classes, discussions continued about New York City with up-dates as they became available. When school ended I raced home to watch on the television the cheering from Lebanon and other middle-eastern regions which would be blacked out as night descended.
My emotions were enormous that day and continue to be constantly addressed. As a teacher and an individual I watched in horror the ignorance of cultures descending into the basest of human potentialities. I also saw the highest of human endeavours as individuals gave their lives trying to save others unknown to them. I saw the evil of indoctrinating people based on ignorant traditions and faulty thinking. I witnessed an event that would change the freedoms of the freest societies in history. I heard the attempt to justify mass murder based upon the ignorant indoctrinated beliefs of ancient unintelligible, misogynist doctrines. I saw the depths of despair that leads to total hatred, genocide. I witnessed the consequences of being politically correct rather than being honest. I saw how, by not acting, the enslavement of others will continue in future generations. As an artist I am trying to confront the reality of 9/11 in order to prevent more such events.
To the first responders: You have died for freedom, murdered by those enslaved and directed by ignorance.