Friday, March 24, 2023

#MarchBreak : Rose and I visit the National Gallery of Canada,

Given she has two weeks of March Break instead of the single week of the public system (she requires further support the public system simply doesn't provide, which is why we switched her once we returned them to in-person schooling in September), Rose and I spent a few hours on Tuesday at the National Gallery of Canada, our first visit there since before the pandemic [see my note on our prior visit during the first week of February 2020 here, including an earlier version of the same photo; the artwork providing context for how much she's grown across the past three years]. We delivered Aoife to grade one and Christine to work and we were good to go. Why does she has two weeks off from school? That is a very good question I haven't an answer for.

Really, Rose is thriving at this new school, so at least there's that. But we spent a couple of hours wandering the gallery's collection, some of which had shifted from the prior time we'd been. I favour the contemporary galleries, and she seems to prefer some of the European galleries. Did I mention we ended up having a conversation en route to the Gallery about Galileo? She knows far more about Galileo than I might have imagined (say: far more than nothing); she gave me a quick overview on his consideration of the universe, how the earth goes around the sun and not the other way around, and how the Pope had him jailed for the perceived insult to the Catholic faith. I mean, she knows her stuff, that one. Perhaps this is through her reading my three Cartoon History of the Universe volumes over the past couple of months.

Always my impulse at the Gallery is to head into the contemporary to see how much Greg Curnoe, David Milne, Roy Kiyooka, Picasso, etcetera (I enjoy considering, also, the colour representation linkages between Curnoe, Milne and even David Hockney, actually) I might find, but, as she did three years past, she focused on the Renaissance painters. She paused by the Dutch painters, the Spanish painters, but wanted to see the British painters. Where are the British ones? I suspect this less to do with style than with simply a country she's heard of a bit more than the others, although that might simply be speculation. And she has her mother's sense of direction, it would seem, looping around that we saw the same half-dozen paintings a few times over until I was completely turned around, and was forced to decipher the map (at least we had one; we did get lost a couple of times).


I let her float around as she wished, and I simply followed. She floated across portraiture, and quietly read through numerous of the descriptions. Oh, and we were both taken by the film installation Vertigo Sea by John Akomfrah, a stunning and simultaneously beautiful and devastating three-frame film that sweeps through a conversation around the ocean, including a variety of man-made destructions, from whaling, oil-rig disasters, refugee crises that drive ships into the sea and a history of nuclear testings. We were both mesmerized by it, and I would recommend it highly, simply for itself (beyond all the other amazing things at the Gallery these days).

After that, we wandered over to the Billings Bridge food court for lunch. It was a good day.

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