The traveling art exhibition "WAR Flowers" is produced by the Reford Gardens. It uses Victorian floriography (the symbolic meanings of flowers) to capture the timeless emotions and human elements around war, and examines human nature in wartime through a series of artistic crystal representations and multi-sensory experiences (which was imagined and created by an artist perfumer, including ten olfactory component). Inspired by the letters and pressed flowers picked by Lt. Col. George S. Cantlie in the fields and hedges of war-torn Europe and sent to his baby daughter in Montreal.
Commissioner: Viveka Melki Director: Alexander RefordCollaborators : Céline Arseneault, Normand Dumont, Claude Langlois Artists : Alexandra Bachand & Mark Raynes Roberts
In 2015, Alexandra Bachand proposed, imagined and started creating the olfactory experience of the International War Flowers exhibition. Accompanied by the curator along with the director and historian of the exhibition, she visited the battlefields of the First World War in Europe to immerse herself in the context of history. A moving search process, but essential to compose unique works. Her intention was to create perfumes, in the most authentic way possible, to pay tribute to the 8 mens and the 2 womens celebrated in the exhibition. She composed 10 fragrances evoking the themes of the exhibition based on the symbolism of flowers. She accompanies her perfumes of poems that she writes, to guide the visitor on the narrative intention. The story offered through each of the scents allows visitors a personal and emotional sensory experience.
10 stations reveal the 10 themes that are evoked through the composition of 10 unique scents and poems, named as followed: Familial Love (Georges S. Cantlie/Yellow Rose)
Innocence (Jean Brillant/Daisy) Mother's Love (Julia Drummond/English Daisy) Grace (Talbot Papineau/Rose) Resolve to Win (Percival Molson/Columbine) Devotion (Edward B. Savage/Lavander) Solitude (Alexander Y. Jackson/Heather) Memory (Elsie Reford/Forget-me-not) Healing (Georges Vanier/Stitchwort) Eternal Sleep (John McRae/Poppy).
« In the WAR Flowers exhibition context, I was immersed in a world of great contradictions. In the hope of revealing the perfume of flowers from more than 100 years, inspired by their symbolic and by the universe of these honoured women and men, I composed these olfactory stories as a tribute to their history, while adding my personal interpretation of the great themes of human nature. In that sense, I hope having revealed all the depth of emotional elements involved those very ones who are the body and the mind of this exhibition.»