Althea Thauberger: In Theatre
AN ONLINE SUPPLEMENT TO THE SPRING 2010 PRINT EDITION OF CANADIAN ART
POSTED: MARCH 11, 2010
Canada has a long history of sending artists to war, both in uniform and as documentarians of conflict. Most recent among these official artist-observers is Vancouver’s Althea Thauberger, who travelled in 2009 under the auspices of the Canadian Forces Artist Program to Kandahar, Afghanistan. As writer Deborah Campbell observes in her spring 2010 cover story “War Artist,” Thauberger brings a unique working method, in which subjects are “co-creators rather than hired props,” to bear on military subjects with surprisingly humanist results. Projects range from a choral performance by home-front military wives at the height of the war in Iraq to a massive photo mural of a military explosives exercise installed at a UBC library. Here, in a preview of her work-in-progress from Afghanistan, Thauberger continues to destabilize ideas of war, depicting Canadian women soldiers not as battle-weary warriors but as real people lending new meaning to the wartime notion of being “in theatre”.