April 30, 2018

For immediate distribution


WAR Flowers : Opening in France at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial on May 2


WAR Flowers – A Touring Art Exhibition explores human nature in wartime through floriography, sculpture and scent

Opening in France at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial on May 2


Download Photos and Press Kit Materials: http://bit.ly/2DMvfs4
What People are Saying About WAR Flowers: http://bit.ly/2DM43t7
Visit: warflowers.ca
Visit: veterans.gc.ca

Grand-Métis, Québec, May 1, 2018 — During the First World War, Canadian soldier George Stephen Cantlie picked flowers from the fields and gardens of war-torn Europe and sent them home to his baby daughter Celia in Montreal so she would remember him in the event he did not make it home from that terrible conflict. One hundred years later, his touching ritual has provided the inspiration for WAR Flowers – A Touring Art Exhibition, opening Wednesday, May 2 at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France.

WAR Flowers 
is an innovative multi-sensorial experience that examines human nature in the landscape of war through artistic representations, combining Cantlie’s actual letters and pressed flowers with original scents and crystal sculptures specifically created for this exhibition, along with portraits of ten Canadians involved in the First World War.

The exhibition — developed by filmmaker and curator Viveka Melki and presented by Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens (Alexander Reford, director) in Grand-Métis, Quebec — is built around Cantlie’s century-old preserved blooms. Melki has reinterpreted these through floriography, a Victorian method of communicating meaning and emotion through flowers.

WAR Flowers consists of ten stations, each showcasing a variety of flower picked by Cantlie. The stations represent individual attributes associated with the exhibition’s ten themes, and reflect Melki’s beliefs about war and human nature. Each station also highlights a Canadian (including John McCrae, Georges Vanier, Elsie Reford and A.Y. Jackson) who embodies these attributes, and features his or her personal experiences of the First World War. Ten specially commissioned optical crystal sculptures by Toronto artist Mark Raynes Roberts and ten original scents developed by Magog, Quebec perfumer Alexandra Bachand complete the exhibition.

VIDEO - The Exhibition’s Inspiration
VIDEO - The Exhibition’s Creative Team

The exhibition is presented at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial’s visitor education centre in France (May 2 to September 2) and will move to the Château Ramezay: Historic Site and Museum in Montreal (October 2018 to March 2019).

WAR Flowers: A Touring Art Exhibition is produced by Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens and made possible with a grant from the Museums Assistance Program – Access to Heritage of Canadian Heritage, and private support from foundations and individual donors. Veterans Affairs Canada, La Mission du Centenaire, Air Canada and TD Bank are sponsors of the exhibition.

About the Canadian National Vimy Memorial
The majestic and inspiring Canadian National Vimy Memorial is Canada’s largest First World War Memorial in Europe. Built at the highest point of Vimy Ridge, the memorial marks the site of the significant and historic Battle of Vimy Ridge and also stands as a tribute to all Canadians who served during the Great War. Each year, almost a million people from around the world visit the Canadian National Vimy Memorial to learn about and honour Canadian sacrifices and contributions.

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For interviews and further information about WAR Flowers: A Touring Art Exhibition:
Mélanie Gauthier
Marketing Manager
Jardins de Métis, Grand-Métis, Quebec
Office: 418-775-2221 ext. 228
E-mail: melanie.gauthier@jardinsdemetis.com

For information about the Canadian National Vimy Memorial
Johanne Gagné, Senior Manager
Office: 011 33 3 21 50 68 68
E-mail: johanne.gagne@vac-acc.gc.ca



WAR Flowers: A Touring Art Exhibition curator Viveka Melki (pron. ViVEKa MELkee) is a Canadian filmmaker and screenwriter. She has lived, worked and travelled in cultures where repressive regimes are dominant. From these experiences are born her projects around conflict - and the capacity of the human spirit for resilience. Reflecting on the subject of war, she says: “I dislike war because it runs in our blood and then our blood runs. My goal as an artist is to tell history in our time, with our voice as artists in this era. I bring my film experience into all my work so, in the end, I am a storyteller. I always ask one question when looking at Canadian history - what did it feel like? And if we can capture a fraction of that and bring you into that experience, then we have succeeded.”

Born in The Gambia, West Africa of Brazilian/Lebanese descent, and educated in the UK before immigrating to Canada, Melki sees the world through a multi-cultural lens. In 2014, she directed the two-part series War Correspondence (Radio-Canada, RDI). Her feature-length documentary After Circus (2015) received acclaim after screenings at several North American film festivals, including Hot Docs in Toronto and the Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal, as well as at the prestigious Sunny Side of the Doc Festival in La Rochelle, France. It was broadcast across Canada on CBC’s documentary Channel in June 2016.

In April 2017, Viveka’s new documentary, Carricks: In the Wake of the Irish, aired on Radio-Canada & RDI. It is the tragic story of the Carricks shipwreck in 1847 and one family’s quest to find the truth – a quest that becomes the journey of the Francophone-Irish in Quebec. Viveka is currently working with the New Chapters Canada Council for the Arts on her new film, Alouette, about the Japanese POW camps during the Second World War. vivekamelki.com



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