canadian portraits about


Canada has no national portrait gallery. A program rather than a building, an idea rather than a landmark, the Library and Archives Canada Portrait Portal brings together works amassed since the 1880s. Graduate students of Art History, the curators of this website have worked under the guidance of professor Loren Lerner of Concordia University to produce virtual exhibitions of these Canadian portraits. Intersecting social history, artistic practices, cultural aspects of representation, the resulting selections interrogate the role of portraiture, a concrete representation, for the nation, an especially abstract entity. In addition to producing two distinct virtual exhibitions, each curator wrote in turn an extended essay on a single picture presenting a particular curatorial, historical or theoretical problem, informed by major thinkers within and outside the field of Art History. Finally, collaboration with the students of Concordia Studio Arts professor Marisa Portolese led to the production of short, pointed curatorial texts on photographic portraits by the students, exploring the portrait archive of the times to come.