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First WordsEnlarge image

First Words, 1982

Irene F. Whittome
Canadian, 1942
encaustic, plaster cloth, and oil on wood
244 x 248 x 4.8 cm overall (panels installed 3.8 cm apart); panels: 244 x 122 cm each
Purchased 1990
National Gallery of Canada (no. 30840.1-2)
© Irene F. Whittome / SODRAC (2013)

We should look for symbolism in Irene Whittome's work - her materials, colours, and forms are carriers of meaning. The cross motif in "First Words" is a rich symbol that belongs to many cultures, signifying, for example, a crossroad or a mystic centre.

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