Just over a week ago our downtown streets underwent a transformation as the bright, colourful, summertime, street banners were replaced by more somber black and white Remembrance banners showing photographic images of Summerland men who went off to The Great War or World War II and never returned.
Each year a few more banners will be added to this Remembrance collection until there is a banner for each of the names engraved on our cenotaph in Memorial Park.
Photography is an art form that is often used to inform, amuse, enlighten and sometimes shock. In this case they are there to remind us. Remind us of sacrifice and loss.
When you wander around downtown see how many were only eighteen when killed in the trenches and mud of Flanders.
Then read the 37 names of those who did not return from the Great War and imagine the impact on a small community.
Photography is a wildly popular art form especially now that digital cameras and cell phones let us easily take hundreds if not thousands of images.
However, photography on the battlefield is not always that easy or that safe.
Photography or wartime sketches or paintings do help us recall the sacrifice, drudgery and horror of war.
Canada had a number of war artists during both world wars who documented training exercises, battlefields and the destruction of these two wars.
One artist was Alex Colville who painted in England, France, Holland and Germany.
He was one of three Canadian artists who visited Belsen concentration camp after its 1945 liberation.
Many of his drawings, sketches and paintings can be found at the Canadian War Museum.
Like the eight giant murals in the Canadian senate, they are a visual reminder of the cost of war.
Hopefully these paintings, the incredible sculpture at the National War Memorial in Ottawa and our Remembrance banners will help us reflect on the horror and tragedy of war and ensure that “with the going down of the sun and in the morning we do remember them.”
The Arts Palette is written by David Finnis, publicity chair and president of the Summerland Community Arts Council, P.O. Box 1217, 9908 Main St., Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0