Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

Exhibitions Reflect on Horrors of Genocide

Ottawa, Canada - February 21, 2001


 Une réfexion sur les horreurs du génocide 
On 6 October 2000, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography will open two major exhibitions that focus on specific incidents of genocide and the role of art in addressing such atrocities. The Space of Silence and Facing Death: Portraits from Cambodia's Killing Fields use archival photographs and striking mixed-media installations that relate to Nazi death camps, the killing fields of Cambodia, and the Rwanda massacres. The exhibitions are troubling, but resist being sensational. Their thoughtful nature distinguishes them from the violent, desensitizing images often shown in mass media.

A media preview of both exhibitions will be held on Thursday 5 October from 2 to 4 pm. CMCP Associate Curator Pierre Dessureault will introduce the exhibitions and will be accompanied by all three artists from The Space of Silence, who will speak on their works and be available for interviews.

The Space of Silence, organized by CMCP, comprises three installations by artists Isaac Applebaum, Jack Burman, and Alfredo Jaar. These artists explore how recent cases of genocide are documented, how history is written, and how we can preserve and learn from the memory of such horrors. The three artists - Applebaum, Burman, and Jaar - will speak on their works during the opening night of the exhibitions, Thursday 5 October at 6 pm.

Facing Death: Portraits from Cambodia's Killing Fields comprises one hundred photographs - portraits of individuals accused of treason and held in a secret prison at Phnom Penh. The photographs were selected and printed by American photojournalists Chris Riley and Doug Niven from over 6,000 negatives found at the prison. The exhibition is organized and circulated by the Photographic

Resource Center at Boston University, in collaboration with the Photo Archive Group, El Segundo, California, of which Riley is Director. CMCP is the only Canadian stop on the exhibition's international tour.

To complement both exhibitions, a panel discussion entitled Genocide and the Collective Memory will be held in the Auditorium of the National Gallery of Canada on Sunday 26 November from 2 pm to 4:30 pm. Moderated by Anna Maria Tremonti, journalist and co-host of CBC's The Fifth Estate, the discussion will include panellists who are experts in the fields of art, history, sociology, and journalism. They will explore some of the ways in which we, as individuals and a global community, bear witness to the horrors of genocide, and how we document, present, and remember them in efforts to raise awareness and prevent their recurrence.

The Space of Silence and Facing Death will be on view at CMCP until 14 January 2001.

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