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Culture Days will return September 20 – October 13, 2024.

Light A Candle to Curse the Dark - Exhibition Opening


History & heritage Sculpture & installation Visual arts
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Guelph Civic Museum

52 Norfolk St

Guelph, ON



Offered in English.

Wheelchair accessible and has gender-neutral washrooms.


Amid the pomp and plump of Canada’s sesquicentennial, 15 metalsmiths from across the country marked the occasion by crafting new sculptures from melted-down colonial silver. Each piece is an expression of form and function – art object and candleholder – that, together, nod to the past and offer a glimpse of the future.

The original silver came from two Canadian families, who had used it over five generations but increasingly less often. They recognized that their tea and coffee sets, serving dishes, and cutlery had greater material value to the artists. They imagined something beautiful could be made from the old metal.

The metalsmiths transformed the silver into candleholders, each inspired by the accomplishments of Canadian women in the arts. Known as the “Illuminations” series, each piece includes a recognizable element from the source silver.

At Guelph Civic Museum, the candleholders are displayed within an exhibition that considers the local Victorian-era, when the fledgling colony aspired to silver service status. The exhibition looks frankly and truthfully at the colonial period, positioning “Illuminations” as its centre, and drawing from the artifacts, archives, and images in the museum’s collection.

Featured artists: Beth Alber (Toronto), Jackie Anderson (Calgary), Mary Anne Barkhouse (Kwakiutl First Nation), Anne Barros (Toronto), Brigitte Clavette (New Brunswick), Lois Etherington Betteridge (Guelph), Fiona Macintyre (Merrickville), Charles Funnell (Coburg), Chantal Gilbert (Ville de Québec), Elizabeth Goluch (Halifax), Mary K. McIntyre (Toronto), Kye-Yeon Son (Halifax), Myra Tulonen Smith (Almonte), Anne-Sophie Vallée (Montreal), and Ken Vickerson (Toronto).

Thank you to Laura Brandon (retired curator, Canadian War Museum) and Ann Malone-Bianconi (manager, interior design and crown collection, National Capital Commission) for loaning the “Illuminations” series to Guelph Museums. We also acknowledge key contributions from Keith Betteridge (photography), Rob Brandon, and Anne Greenlay.



City of Guelph Museums & Culture

Guelph Museums and Culture exists to:

* Collect and protect artifacts, artworks and stories that reflect our community

* Share the collections and stories − locally, nationally and internationally − through exhibition, interpretation, and online access

* Provide inclusive, accessible, interactive, and enlightening experiences

* Nurture interest and engagement in history, art and culture

* Cultivate a connection to place, with focus on the tangible and intangible cultural landscape unique to Guelph

This event is part of a hub:

So Guelph!

City of Guelph Museums & Culture Guelph, ON

Where art meets heritage meets a passion for the natural environment, that's So Guelph! Our creative community embodies values that define Guelph - curiosity, compassion, innovation, collaboration, diversity, environmentalism, and activism....