Artworks and Artists

Houle, Robert
acrylic and conté crayon on canvas
228.7 x 732 cm overall; panels: 228.7 x 183 cm each


Kanata is an excellent example of Houle's reworking of Western art images. In it he takes a depiction of an historical event and restructures it to deliver a poignant statement about the colonization of North America. The two central panels feature an altered reproduction of the American artist Benjamin West's famous painting The Death of General Wolfe (1770). According to one writer, the original work is "a Canadian cultural icon recording the martyrdom of General Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham in the definitive battle between the French and English for the control of territory that was to be called Canada." The work challenges the Eurocentric versions of Canada's history and attempts to change the misconceptions that surround Aboriginal people.