Sault Ste. Marie hosted two sold-out showings of Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven last October during the Algoma Fall Festival, but theatre-goers and art lovers alike have shown such interest in the locally produced film, that it is being brought back to the Grand Theatre on Queen Street on Wednesday March 23rd. Co-hosted by NORDIK Institute and the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT) this screening will be followed by a panel of local speakers involved in the film’s making.
“This film is not only about the artists and their work” says Michael Burtch, art historian and Research Associate at NORDIK Institute. “It is about how the remote, rugged wilderness of Northern Ontario influenced, inspired and provided healing to them, after their experiences in the First World War”. Past meets present in Painted Land and weaves seamlessly the experiences of Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, A.Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, Franklin Carmichael and A.J. Casson, as they explored Algoma’s Landscape by rail, staying in a boxcar of the Algoma Central Railway for several summers – with the adventures of three modern day sleuths. Historian Michael Burtch, and the writer and photographer team of Gary and Joanie McGuffin are determined to track down the precise locations of these famous paintings. Archival film, letters, journals and photographs of the artists – some of which have never been seen in public – take the viewers back in time. This film weaves this history with a modern day adventure, up mountains, down canyon rivers and over portages with our trio as they try to achieve their own personal quest: to actually ‘walk in the Group of Seven’s footsteps’.
“The most important thing a painter can do is find a good place to sit.” – J.E.H. MacDonald
The panel discussion, entitled “Connecting Land, Art and People: Multiple Perspectives” will be moderated by Missanabie Cree Elder and Chancellor of Algoma University, Shirley Horn, and features Michael Burtch, local artist Frank Belleau, and Carol Caputo from the Algoma Kinnawabi Tourism association. Burtch and Belleau were involved with making the film as were local adventurers Gary and Joanie McGuffin and videographer Dan Nystedt.
Tickets for the film may be purchased at local businesses, Café Natura on Elgin Street, and Shabby Motley Handcraft on Queen, or on-line at nordikinstitute.com
The Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT) is a not-for-profit organization comprised of individuals, businesses, First Nations, municipalities and other interests who recognize the significant economic, social, cultural, historical and environmental value of passenger rail servicing and interconnecting the people, businesses and communities of Northern Ontario’s Algoma District to each other, Ontario, Canada and the rest of the world. To accomplish this goal, CAPT has been working with local groups to organize events in the community that utilize the railway as a means of advertising and demonstrating its usefulness in the area.
About NORDIK Institute
The NORDIK research institute aims to promote a more vibrant, caring and sustainable communities through research, dialogue, analysis and reflection dedicated to the practice of holistic community development. NORDIK has evolved from the Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) program and research of Algoma University, a unique program that provides students with the tools and knowledge to make meaningful change within their community and the world around them.