Colwood exhibit helps hand down memories

UPDATED WITH VIDEO: An art exhibit in Colwood brought together youth and senior artists to reflect on the impact of war

Juan de Fuca 55+ Activity Centre art teacher Lesley Brennand

An art exhibit in Colwood brought together youth and senior artists to reflect on the impact of war and on the role of automotive in military history.

The exhibit, at Saunders Subaru from Nov. 1 to 3, brought together art from Juan de Fuca 55+ Activity Centre art programs and art students from Belmont secondary school.

All of the drawings in the show feature vehicles from the two World Wars. Some come with personal stories, while other paintings are a result of a general interest followed by research.

Lesley Brennand, an art teacher at the activity centre, drew an original Volkswagen Beetle, which was first built in 1938 in Nazi Germany. “It’s got the history of the first person that drew it, and the plans, and then Hitler’s sketch,” Brennard said. “It intrigued me, the history intrigued me.”

Other artists from the centre drew vehicles such as a Danish van used to sneak Jewish citizens out of the country and Jeeps and motorcycles used in the war.

Victoria Kahn, an art teacher at Belmont, said the show offers a great opportunity for her young students to work with the senior artists and for each to learn from the other.

“Putting the teens and seniors together is a gorgeous mix. They all benefit so much,” Kahn said. “It’s all about emerging artists and it doesn’t matter what age you are to be an emerging artist.”

As a Grade 10 student at Belmont, Simon Olsen drew a United States Marine Corps helmet on the ground with a plane flying overhead and the words “In Time Wounds Heal.”

“I drew a helmet and planes, that just represent what people were going through,” Olsen said.

Through taking part in the project Olsen said he learned just how many people have died in the wars and how many families have been affected in the process.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 91 provided memorabilia to the exhibit, including flags and vintage promotional material from the war. Branch president Fran Raglione said the exhibit is a great chance for young people to learn about the sacrifice of veterans.

“You’ve got to remember our vets. Without them we wouldn’t have freedom,” Raglione said. “It’s so important for people to remember that freedom is a blessing, it’s not something that comes without prices.”

Attending the exhibit was Frank Seeley, who served with the Canadian Navy in the Second World War from 1941 to 1945, doing convoy and minesweeping work in the Pacific Ocean. Seeley took part in the D-Day operations, as well as work off the coast of Canada and the United States.

In the Bay of Biscay, off the coast of France, a German submarine sunk the ship Seeley was serving on.

“First it hit us with a … torpedo and that stopped us,” Seeley said. “Then the submarine circled us for an hour, giving us a chance to get off. We didn’t get off, so they gave us another torpedo.”

Seeley was knocked unconscious by the blast. When he awoke he managed to get off the ship, the last man to do so. Out of a crew of 93, 53 died in the attack. Seeley got emotional as he told his story and said exhibits like this are important to remind people of the sacrifices made.


The art from the Belmont students is on display at the Legion Branch 91 (761 Station Ave.) through Remembrance Day. The art is a part of a competition, with the local winners going on to a regional competition.



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