Project History

It all started with my long-time friend Joe Santos. I had just completed my series Omo and was contemplating where my travels might take me next when an email from Joe arrived in my inbox. “Any interest in doing a painting of Vimy Ridge?” he wanted to know.

With the hundredth anniversary of the First World War approaching in 2014, the timing was perfect, and I knew I was at the right place in my career to undertake a project of this scale. “Yes!” I wrote back, and got started.

Soon, one painting turned into many and Project Remembrance was born.

As a painter, I always want to produce work that resonates aesthetically, maybe pushes the boundaries a bit. But I want the work to resonate emotionally, too. That was very important to me with this series.

For me, Project Remembrance is about the character of the individuals who served in the First World War. More particularly, it’s about the Canadian character – about our fortitude and grit – and how this character helped to define our nation to the world.

As for Joe, his aim was to give to Canada a comprehensive collection of paintings to commemorate the centenary of the conflict, both to honour the soldiers who served their country and to offer inspiration to anyone needing to dig deep in a time of challenge.

It is our hope that the paintings of Project Remembrance will contribute meaningfully to the Canadian cultural landscape and serve to inform, inspire and enrich viewers.

—Brian Lorimer