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Welland's Murals:
14. Welland Fair

About the Mural
Welland Fair by John Hood, Toronto, Ontario. Painted in 1989, at 228 East Main Street (The Tribune Building), 60' by 12'. The Welland Fair is illustrated in three colourful scenes. On the left, livestock winners are proudly paraded about 1940. In the centre, a 1958 midway scene is frozen in time. In 1975, the fair moved from Denistoun to the Niagara Street location, where in the right hand scene, the livestock judge examines a line of sheep.

The Artist's Interpretation
"With this piece, I undertook to introduce a somewhat more literal and narrative element to the work because I wished to depict different aspects of the fair, as well as continuing impact on the imagination of Wellanders through a number of generations down to the present. To that end, I opted to execute a triptych, reading from left to right, from the past through a more recent period. I included a slight variation of image style to reflect the relative nearness in time of the spectator to the event depicted. My wife has described the left panel as 'Canadian Gothic,' a characterization I rather like."

"One of the central differences between exterior mural painting and easel painting that makes mural painting a rewarding experience revolves around the issue of visibility and recognition. As an artist working alone in a studio, even with a steady clientele, the number of people who respond to, or are affected by, one's work is strictly limited."

"An exterior mural is by definition situated in such a way as to provoke a response from many people. This sort of feedback is stimulating and valuable to an artist's development, or at least, I feel it has been in my own experience."

"It was very gratifying to experience not only the positive reaction of visitors to Welland, but to observe how many and diverse elements of the community itself adopted with pride the murals as their common possession."

Your Virtual Guide's Comments
The image here is of simple, sturdy agriculturists, one of the pillars upon which the community of Welland was founded. The picture presents a tender look at what in earlier times would have been called "a stalwart peasant." It was people such as these whose toil produced many of the cargoes transported along the Welland Canal.

About the Artist: John Hood, Toronto, Ontario
John was born in Montreal and obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Concordia University. He usually paints small-scale figurative scenes in acrylics and watercolours.

In 1987, he won a competition to paint an outdoor mural in Athens, Ontario and created a 700 square foot masterpiece. "It was a chance to work on a very large scale." Hood reflected. "I like having a canvas that's ridiculously big." He is one of two artists who painted three murals for the Welland Festival of Arts and is the youngest of the artists involved.

John has had solo exhibitions in Montreal and Brockville and has produced a series of acrylics and watercolours of the Toronto waterfront and surroundings. He has also worked on book illustrations.

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