APPRECIATING WARTIME ART - Founding executive director for Veterans Voices of Canada

Veterans Voice of Canada to showcase propaganda poster collection

Local military memorabilia collector seeking public input for upcoming print media art show

A local military memorabilia collector and founding executive director for Veterans Voices of Canada, Allan Cameron is currently looking for donations of a specific kind to be featured in an upcoming art show.

Veterans Voices of Canada, an organization based out of Sylvan Lake whose aim is to interview and document Canadian military veterans for history and education, has been collecting military memorabilia for many years.

During Cameron and Veterans Voices documentation of individuals across the country, they have come to collect a number of wartime propaganda posters as well as other historic military memorabilia.

For the first time in Veterans Voices history, which was founded in 2005, Cameron will be showcasing the collection in partnership with local gallery Bonavista Fine Art.

The commercial art gallery and studio, located on Centennial Street in Sylvan Lake, will be home to the collection of wartime propaganda posters along with a number of other notable print items including wartime newspaper prints and letters in late October and span into early November to coincide with Remembrance Day.

Cameron explained he has been hoping to do a show like this for a while now as he feels the posters are an important part of the country’s history.

“They are eye catching and they get people talking,” explained Cameron. “They are such beautiful pieces of art and they have a special way of getting people interested in remembrance and Canadian history.”

“We are so used to seeing your typical military and collector items that people can lose interest, but these posters are very cool to see. I look at them and see the artwork that has gone into them and it amazes me.”

During war times, most notably World War I and World War II, nations used propaganda posters to sway citizens to either make contributions to their country’s victory or to be able to endure defeat.

According to the Canadian War Museum, governments and private organizations produced or commissioned posters and other items to support recruitment, promote military production, inform citizens about proper conduct and assure people their governments are taking appropriate action.

“The creators of this material exploit the power of words and images to construct persuasive visual messages that evoke feelings of fear and anger, pride and patriotism, in proposing or privileging one point of view to the exclusion of others,” states the Canadian War Museum’s website.“Propagandists during the two world wars were neither the first nor the last to manage information in this fashion. It is as much a part of our contemporary world, in commercial advertising or political campaigning, for example, as it was a part of the Roman Empire over 2,000 years ago, when emperors and generals manipulated their images and accomplishments in order to secure or attain power.”

According to the Canadian War Museum’s website, Canada used specifically targeted media and modern visual design tools for propaganda purposes during the First and Second World Wars. In addition to the posters; radio, commercial advertising and other print media all became important vehicles for propaganda messaging.

Cameron explained many of the posters in Veterans Voices of Canada’s collection came from the Canadian Department of National Defence.

Veterans Voices of Canada has made the decision to open their doors and the upcoming show to collectors from across Canada and is asking that anyone who wishes to donate print items to the show to please contact him.

“I know there are items out there hiding in people’s closets and able to be dug out of storage that people need to see and should see,” said Cameron, adding the objective is to have as many intriguing and informative pieces available to the public in the showcase as possible.“We collect everything from helmets, uniforms, anything military memorabilia related but specifically for the upcoming display we are looking for World War I and II posters, newspapers and even letters.

“It’s not garbage it’s history. I hate to think about how much of this stuff has been thrown out over the years.”

Cameron implores those interested in donating an item to the show or to Veterans Voices of Canada’s permanent collection to contact the organization directly by emailing him directly at ac@vetvoicecan.org or by phoning 403 887 7114.

editor@sylvanlakenews.com