Art and Arctic Sovereignty: A.Y. Jackson, Lawren S. Harris and Canada's Eastern Arctic Patrols
Ladon, Agnes Elizabeth
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In 1930, A.Y. Jackson and Lawren S. Harris travelled to the Arctic Archipelago as members of Canada’s Eastern Arctic Patrol. The collaborative venture between the Department of the Interior and the noted Group of Seven artists, which followed Jackson’s 1927 voyage aboard the government patrol, was part of a mutual aim to generate popular interest in the Canadian North through art. This thesis examines the underlying political context of both the 1927 and 1930 collaborative efforts. It examines the government patrols in connection with the promotion of Jackson’s and Harris’s Arctic works as part of a larger process of advancing the Arctic as a Canadian possession during a period of increased foreign interest in the region. Drawing on primary source material as well as various print media reports and exhibition reviews, this study provides insight into how the contemporary framing of Jackson’s and Harris’s Arctic sketches and paintings from the government-supported expeditions—the ways in which the works were discussed and understood—contributed not only to the “imagining” of the Arctic as a Canadian possession, but also to the dissemination of Canadian sovereignty efforts in the North.
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