For Tom Thomson, one of the most notable, iconic and influential Canadian artists, it was the rugged and beautiful Canadian landscape that compelled him to capture his stories of Canada through paint. In Thomson’s mind, it was the amazing northern landscape that was of too great importance to miss –the windswept pines, sunset skies, beaver dams, creeks, wild rivers, northern lights and the ever-changing colours of the seasons. These Canadian landscapes, combined with his non-traditional compositions, bold colour palettes and expressive brush strokes, defined a new style of painting which ultimately led to shaping many generational views on Canadian landscape and spirit.
In 2015 the Tom Thomson Art Gallery teamed up with the Georgian Bay Folk Society, organizers of the renowned Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival, on one of our exciting Canadian Spirit 2015: With A Destiny public art projects, to connect people to art outside of our gallery walls, in our community. The TOM led the development of a large site-specific public mural, recreating Tom Thomson’s 1915 painting Sunset Sky – a stunning work that captures the true spirit of the northern landscape from the Gallery’s permanent collection. This collaborative mural was installed onsite at Summerfolk in August of 2015, alongside the amphitheatre stage for all audiences to enjoy. Many hands were involved in painting this 256-square-foot mural, including dedicated volunteers: Rhiannon Charles, Andy King, Sage Lemoine, Evie Lepietuszko, Emily Medeiros, Aly Mulvaney-Courtois, Scottie Pitt, Niamh Thomas and Raquell Yang.
Summerfolk is an experience that truly celebrates Canadian Spirit to its fullest through fine art, crafts and music. Information on this annual Festival held at Kelso Beach in Owen Sound can be found at www.summerfolk.org or by phoning the Georgian Bay Folk Society Office at 519-371-2995. For more information on the TOM’s ongoing Canadian Spirit Projects, please visit our website at www.tomthomson.org or call 519-376-1932.
On a personal note, I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to our mural team and TOM staff for their incredible effort into recreating this iconic Thomson work. We hope that all audiences will enjoy Sunset Sky in its new community home, the Julie McArthur Regional Recreation Centre. We must remember and celebrate that Tom Thomson created lasting images that remind us of our beautiful land of the free – our beloved home of Canada.
Heather Hughes, Curator of Temporary Exhibitions
The TOM gratefully acknowledges the support of the 2015 Exhibition Sponsor: