Exhibition in Timmins draws from First and Second World War letters

An exhibition at the Timmins Museum this month is inspired by correspondence letters during both world wars.

Artist Linda Finn's grandmother corresponded with soldiers in the First and Second World Wars

The War Letters exhibition features pieces by artist Linda Finn, inspired by written correspondence her grandmother had with soldiers during the First and Second World Wars. (Supplied by Linda Finn)

An exhibition at the Timmins Museum this month is inspired by correspondence letters during both world wars.

Elliot Lake artist Linda Finn has created a series of pieces based on letters sent to her grandmother by Canadian soldiers during the First and Second World Wars in her exhibition called The War Letters.

Finn said her grandmother was a member of the Women's Institute, which encouraged correspondence with soldiers to help keep them connected to home. Between both wars, she had written to a dozen soldiers, who in turn shared their perspectives from the front lines.

"The letters were kept in this old tin box up in my parents' attic," Finn said. "So when my parents moved out of their house into an apartment, I asked if I could have the old tin box of letters."

Artist Linda Finn is based in Elliot Lake, Ontario. Her exhibition, called The War Letters, will be at the Timmins Museum until Nov. 7, 2021. (Supplied by Linda Finn)

She said she kept the letters in storage for years. In 2007, she was working on pieces that used text, and decided to open that old tin box.

"I thought, 'Oh my goodness, here's a story that needs to be told,'" she said.

Since 2017, she has presented different versions of The War Letters throughout Ontario, including an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Sudbury and another at Toronto's Cathedral Church of St. James.

The War Letters exhibition includes more than 35 pieces, and Finn said it is in constant evolution. (Supplied by Linda Finn)

Many of the pieces use text from the letters, and incorporate images of the soldiers, or their experiences during the war. 

Some pieces depict famous campaigns, such as the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917.

But the exhibition, which now includes more than 35 pieces, has been in constant evolution.

"I will probably keep working on it until I die," Finn said.

The Timmins Museum is hosting the exhibition until Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. 


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