Answer questions separately, paragraph will be fine as long as the questions is completely and clearly answered.
Textbook Reading: HCP, Ch8 (the file I attached)
Learning Pod Discussion: UCM on Tom Thomson
“Painting Canada”: Immersing a Nation in Place
Theme: Our discussion will examine the development of a ‘new’ CDN identity that emerged out of the angst of diminishing British-CDN attachments in the early 20th century. How did the desire for belonging of a new generation find expression in ‘place’ within the artistic expression of Thomson (and by extension the Group of Seven)?
For this week you should cover the following content:
– All of the top tabs entitled “Tragedy”, “Portraits”, “Landscapes”, “Artists’ Worlds”, and “Investigations” and all of the associated side tabs
– You should get a good sampling of the ‘primary documents’ (at least two from each ‘category’ of documents (ie: “Diaries, Journals or Reminiscences, “Letters”, “Magazines”, “Government Documents”, etc.) that are associated with each side-tab.
– You might also want to supplement your exposure to Thomson’s art by doing a google search.
Questions to consider as you read through the site:
1. How would you describe Canadian society in the early 20th century?
– rural to urban; British norms to something else; farming to industrial life; fixed society to fluid relations; poverty (in the recession) to affluence (of the early 1900s)
2. What did Algonquin Park represent and why was it so important to Thomson and later to Canadians? Why the shift in interests from timber to tourism?
– places like AP made up the “New Ontario”; these “wilderness” places were seen as therapy to cure the ills of city living; how does this represent the changing nature of CDN society (urbanizing, industrializing, affluence, etc)? How does this suggest that Ontarians wanted to protect “their own” land and to see themselves in this nature?
3. Describe Thomson’s artistic style? How did it differ from traditional forms of art? How did the new art form represent a distinctly Canadian identity?
– consider brush strokes, vibrant bold colours, blurred lines, limited visible forms of human experience, etc. What did this form allow CDNs to do when interpreting the art? Look at some examples of TT’s artwork to explore these themes.
4. What are the three different theories on the cause of Thomson’s death? Which one do you find most plausible? Why?
– list the three theories and discuss their merits; if you were a detective, which one would you have chosen?
5. Why are the circumstances surrounding Thomson’s death still of interest to Canadians? What is the importance of Thomson’s work (and the broader work of the so-called “Group of Seven” painters) in the early formation of Canadian nationalism?
– how does TT’s artwork serve as a ‘proxy’ for CDN identity (and nationalism)? Can you see how it allows for CDNs to negotiate their identity in and through the art’s interpretation? How does TT’s life, artwork and death contribute to the dialogue that CDNs were having (and continue to have) on the uniqueness of the CDN experience/culture? Where do you ‘ground’ your identity as a CDN (or in relation to this identity as a student of Canada)?
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