The models pose for Adad Hannah at the 100 Mile Community Hall in 2009. Chris Nickless photo.

100 Mile recreation of famous French painting on display in Kamloops Art Gallery

Several students from 100 Mile House were used as models for the photo

A piece of art created in 100 Mile House is being featured at the Kamloops Art Gallery until March 23.

It’s great to be in a small community that can pull out all stops and make certain things happen, said Gus Horn, the owner of the Critical Mass Pop-Art Gallery, regarding the piece.

A replica of Théodore Géricault’s iconic 1818-19 oil painting, The Raft of the Medusa, was captured by Vancouver-based photographer Adad Hannah who staged a tableaux vivant at the 100 Mile Community Hall in 2009.

Hannah, with the help of Horn and others, recruited local Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School students from 100 Mile House to act as the models and reenact the famous painting.

Géricault’s painting depicts the wreck of the French frigate Méduse in 1816 when it hit the Bank of Arguin off present-day Mauritania while on route to Senegal, a French colony at the time. Of the 400 or so passengers evacuated, 151 men were forced to stay on a raft in the open ocean. The men were forced to rely on whatever resources were available, which resulted in mutiny against the officers and even cannibalism. By the time the raft was discovered by accidental rescuers, only 15 of the men were alive.

“He [Hannah] made it look good, you know,” said Horn.

Horn said he spent one day a week for three months to gather the recruits in the photo. He drew from Monique Corno’s drama program at PSO, as well as Todd Lund’s class from the 100 Mile House Junior Secondary.

He also mentioned Tom Godin, who created the backdrop for the picture.

“People like that, they put the blood, sweat and tears every year and a lot more work goes into it than meets the eye,” said Horn.

He went on to explain that when Hannah’s photo was on display in Montreal a few years ago, a writer for The Globe and Mail who reviewed the photo, pointed out the backdrop.

Horn said Godin painted the canvas while laying down on the floor and when it was hung up, they had to make sure they got certain things right. Horn went on to say that it takes a certain kind of talent to achieve that.

“The best part of it, as far as I’m concerned, is to remain friends with a lot of the people who were just in high school at the time. Some of them went on to have fine art degrees, some of them [did] other things. Either way, until we had Adad, anybody could have photographed it and several did, but he captured the narrative and it’s a beacon of his larger work,” said Horn.

The photograph is part of the Kamloops Art Gallery’s exhibit titled Glints and Reflections. It features several works by Hannah he created both nationally and internationally, focusing on his body of work from the past decade. The exhibit started on Jan. 18 and will go until March 23 in the Central Gallery.

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