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Welland's Murals:
9. Three Historical Scenes

About the Mural
Three Historical Scenes by John Hood, Toronto, Ontario. Painted in 1988, at 115 Division Street (Welland Printing), 42' by 7'. This mural is an example of a triptych, a mural that has one or more unifying themes but is composed of three separate images. All three images show aspects of Welland's socio-economic fabric. They each show large groups of figures and each fits into the 1900-1910 time period.

The front panel shows the last spike being driven in the Welland Railway System, which ran up King Street, around 1911. Many of Welland's leading citizens of the time are visible. The first side panel features a band concert in Merritt Park and focuses on the people attending the concert. The view is from just north of the Welland Club, looking towards the centre of the park.

The second side panel portrays the Welland Farmers Market between 1899 and 1905, with market-goers arriving in horse-drawn wagons.

The Artist's Interpretation
"I was inspired to do this by searching through old photographs that the Festival of Arts researchers found and made available to the artists. These images at once leapt out as distinctive. It is interesting to note the differences in the three pictures cause by the subjects' relative awareness of the photographer. In the first panel, the group is aware of the photographer, presenting its image to be recorded. In the second panel, the group is shown in a more natural style and the third panel contains elements of both."

Your Virtual Guide's Comments
This is one of the murals based on photos as the detailed scenes suggest. The extensive use of pastel colours heightens the feeling of nostalgia, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of the hand-coloured black and whites in old photo albums. The clear depiction of scenes of daily life puts a human face on an industrial town. 
 

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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