Oh, Canada – A Lament stands as one of the most powerful war paintings of our times. It is a tribute to the Canadian soldiers who died during the Afghanistan mission, and a reminder that too often war is measured by numbers rather than by faces and names. With Oh, Canada – A Lament, Joanne Tod provides viewers with portraits of the enlisted who served and died during the longest military mission in Canadian history, and where each soldier is seen as an individual, revealing their age, gender, hair colour, as well as their facial expressions. Painted on 6 x 5-inch birch panels, their faces offer a glimpse of the person behind the uniform. Each is titled by name, rank and battalion.
The motivation behind the project was both political and personal. James Tod, her uncle, served and died as a private in the Second World War, and she knew him only through pictures found among family documents.