WAR Flowers | FLEUR D’ARMES opened on October 20th, 2018, at the stunning Canadian War Museum designed by architect Raymond Moriyama. The building which rises in the east to a large fin, clad in copper with small windows that spell out in Morse code “Lest we forget” and its French equivalent, “N’oublions jamais,” was the perfect venue to showcase the WAR FLOWERS exhibition.
Stephen Quick, the Director General of the Canadian War Museum, and Alexander Reford, WAR Flowers historian and Director, of Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens welcomed guests to the the World War 1 inspired touring art exhibition. This exhibition being the first Les Jardins de Metis/Reford Gardens has produced for touring internationally.
The WAR Flowers exhibition was located in the LeBreton Gallery where the Vimy Memorial sculptures are usually on permanent display by the late Canadian sculptor Walter Allward. (which he created between 1925-30) Four of Allwards masterpieces had been sent to Vimy, for exhibition in France, allowing the WAR Flowers Crystal Collection to share the space with several sculptures that remained.
Viveka Melki and Alexander Reford worked closely with the Canadian War Museum team of Stacey Barker (Historian) Caroline Dromaguet (Director of Exhibitions) and Molly McCullough, (Content Supervisor) in creating this unique and moving exhibition.
During World War 1, Lt. Col George S. Cantlie has plucked flowers from the fields of war-torn Europe, sending them home to his baby daughter Celia in Montréal. Those 100 year old flowers have now been preserved, and are part of this unique multisensory exhibition curated by Viveka Melki, who uses floriography – the Victorian language of flowers to create an immersive experience featuring Cantlie’s letters, Mark Raynes Roberts, specially commissioned crystal sculpture, and original flower-based scents, created by Perfumer, Alexandra Bachand, which have been interwoven with the personal stories of ten Canadians directly involved in the war.
“WAR Flowers is the story of humanity’s unfailing ability to find beauty, even in times of war. If war is a story we are doomed to repeat, then innocence appears to be its eternal partner. As these flowers have never been separated from their letters, so has war ever been part of humanity’s story. It has left its imprint on our earth, as pollen stains paper…” commented Viveka Melki.
The VIP opening reception attracted hundreds of guests, along with several Ambassadors and Members of Parliament including Denis Lemieux, (MP Chicoutimi- LeFjord) Diane Lebouthillier, (Minister of National Revenue) Rémi Massé (MP Avignon-La Mitis-Matane-Matapédia) Alexander Reford, (Director Jardins de Metis) and Jean Rious, (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence.)
During the opening Viveka Melki, Alexandra Bachand and Mark Raynes Roberts were interviewed by CBC Radio, and by Kevin Gallagher, for the CTV National News, about the moving World War 1 exhibition which travels next to the Campbell House Museum, Toronto, (Jan 24 – March 25, 2018, before heading to the Visitor Education Center, Canadian National Memorial, Vimy, (France) April 9 – Sept 9, 2018, before returning to Château Ramezay Museum, Montreal , Oct 4, 2018 to March 31, 2019.
For more information please visit: www.warflowers.ca