"War Brides" installed at the Glenbow Museum, Calgary.
War Brides August 24 to October 30, 2010, Portage and District Arts Centre, Portage La Prairie
BY: Patricia Dawn Robertson
Like thousands of Canadian women during World War II, Bev Tosh’s mother Dorothy met and married a foreign serviceman, in her case a Commonwealth airman training in Canada, who took her to New Zealand after the war. When Dorothy turned 80 in 2001, Tosh painted her as a young war bride, and since then, the commemorative project has grown in depth and magnitude. Now a Calgary-based painter, Tosh continues to mine the rich subject matter of identity, memory and displacement. Tosh conducted hundreds of first-person and email interviews with war brides from North America, Europe, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Her exhaustive efforts culminated in a show at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa in 2007, and the show has been touring since, with stops at the Royal B.C. Museum and Calgary’s Glenbow Museum. War Brides is on display at The Portage and District Gallery Art Centre in late summer, while a companion show is on at the Otago Settlers Museum in New Zealand. Still, after more than a decade, the project hasn’t left her — she’s still collecting stories and painting portraits.
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