Beverley Tosh, a Canadian artist, painted One-Way Passage, a monumental portrait of her mother Dorothy as a young war bride who emigrated from her native Canada to New Zealand. The portrait includes the names of ships on which many war brides had travelled. This painting was the direct catalyst for her continuing research on war brides.
These “war brides” are women she has met and corresponded with in Canada and the United States, Britain, Holland, New Zealand and Australia. Each war bride has recounted her story to the artist – a personal story about love and family, adaptation, endurance and identity. Their stories, of finding and sometimes losing love, represent the leap of faith taken by thousands in order to build lives far from home.
War Brides: One-Way Passage
The result can be seen in War Brides: One-Way Passage, a fascinating exhibition which interweaves personal, social, historical and artistic elements. All the art is based directly on primary sources including hundreds of personal interviews, photographs, letters, personal memorabilia and period artifacts. While the experiences of women are often overshadowed in the historical record, Bev Tosh shines a spotlight on ordinary women in extraordinary times.
“Bev Tosh is truly a visual poet who enriches our understanding of the past through an artistic sensibility that transforms the cold facts of distant history into a vivid, poignant and present reality.”
Monique Westra, Curator of Art
Canadian War Brides: a one way passage to love:
The National Liberation Museum in Groesbeek (near Nijmegen), the Netherlands is hosting an exhibition of Dutch war brides to Canada, June 6 to November 24, 2013 by Canadian artist Bev Tosh. Art, audio clips and artifacts combine in this unique display. Over 20 new portraits on wooden panels – all with story panels on silk – stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Hetty’s wedding dress and short film of her wedding in Gorinchem in 1945. A veil of vintage handkerchiefs – each embroidered by the artist with the name of a “bride ship” – speaks of ocean voyages and tears.
For more information please visit Bevrijdings Museum
Photo credit: Aryn Guthrie