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Looking Back - Forging Forward: Trench Art & Ronold Boaks

Design History & heritage Museum Sculpture & installation Visual arts
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Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON



Offered in English.

Wheelchair accessible.


An exciting new exhibit juxtaposes contemporary found object sculptures with trench art created during the First World War 100 years ago.

Looking Back – Forging Forward: Trench Art & Ronald Boaks opens at the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre on Thursday, August 15 and runs until September 29. All are welcome. Niagara-on-the-Lake artist Ronald Boaks has created a series of intriguing sculptures from pieces of metal and other material salvaged from junkyards and elsewhere. The sculptures are displayed alongside both utilitarian and artistic objects crafted by soldiers in the trenches during the Great War, 1914-1918.

“There are some similarities between my methods and trench art,” says Boaks, noting that his creative process starts with seeing the relationship between objects.

“The biggest difference is that the soldiers were under extreme duress that could be escalated at any time. Thanks to them, I do it in peace – definitely a luxury.”

Looking Back – Forging Forward is presented by the Niagara Pumphouse in partnership with the Niagara Historical Society & Museum, Niagara Military Museum and Parks Canada, all of whom have loaned trench art pieces for the exhibit.

Inspired by Niagara’s history, the exhibition is part of a series of educational, pop-up art installations offering opportunities and art experiences for all ages and interests, through the generous support of Niagara Region’s Niagara Investment in Culture Program.

Trench art pieces include hand-punched vases made from artillery shells, ash trays, metal maple leafs and cutlery, while Boaks’ works include welded steel chariots, human-like figures and objects that combine metal and wood.



Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre

The Niagara pumphouse is an arts centre for people of all ages to come and use the space to create, learn and enjoy art from local artists all year round. There are different shows and exhibitions that take place throughout the year to promote artists in the Niagara region. Classes and workshops take place seasonally where all age groups can learn techniques, the use of different medias and explore their creative passions. Every last Sunday of the month these family friendly drop-in studios take place where families have the opportunity to come enjoy the art and the create something together. We encourage all ages to come and get creative!