Exhibition — War Flowers (2017-2020)

 «The touring art exhibition has been presented in 7 prestigious venues and has reached hundreds of thousands of visitors.»
Living Arts Centre - Mississauga (Ontario)  September 17 to December 17, 2020
Borealis Gallery, Alberta Legislature’s Visitor Centre in Edmonton — January 31 to May 3, 2020.
Château Ramezay, Montréal (CA) — October 24, 2018 to 31 march, 2019 > Extended to January 5 2020
Vimy Visitor and Education Center, Vimy (France) — May 4 to Sept. 2, 2018
Campbell House Museum, Toronto (CA) — January 24 to March 15, 2018
Canadian War Museum, Ottawa (CA) — October 13 to Dec. 31, 2017
Metis Reford Garden, Grand-Métis (Canada) — June 3 to Sept. 22, 2017


Below, Interview with Alexandra Bachand, the exhibition's perfumer and curator of the olfactory component.

The traveling art exhibition "WAR Flowers" was 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 Reford 
Artists : Alexandra Bachand: Artist perfumer and curator of the olfactory art section
Mark Raynes Roberts: crystal artist sculptor 
Collaborators :  Céline Arseneault, Normand Dumont, Claude Langlois

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 alcoves reveal the themes which each evoke the symbolism of flowers picked from the battlefields and which clearly underline human nature in wartime.
Alexandra Bachand was inspired by these themes and the impressions she received during her honorary journey in the Somme in France and Belgium, to write 10 olfactory poems that dialogue with each of the perfumes she has composed in order to highlight an olfactory memory of history and thus offer visitors an intimate and emotional immersive experience.
Familial Love  I Georges S. Cantlie  I Yellow Rose
Innocence I Jean Brillant  I Daisy
Mother's Love I Julia Drummond I English Daisy
Grace I Talbot Papineau I Rose
Resolve to Win
I Percival Molson I Columbine
I Edward B. Savage I Lavander
I Alexander Y. Jackson I Heather
I Elsie Reford I Forget-me-not
I Georges Vanier I Stitchwort
Eternal Sleep
 I John McRae I Poppy

Olfactory memory: Resolve to win

“At dawn, a scattering of the male odour of tobacco and alcohol and galvanizes the determined troops.”
– Alexandra Bachand

« 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.»

- Alexandra Bachand
Launching / Reford Gardens, Grand-Métis (CA) 2017

Launching / Canadian War Museum, Ottawa (CA) 2017

 Launching / Campbell House Museum, Toronto (CA) 2018


 Launching / Vimy Visitor and Education Center, Vimy (France) 2018


Launching / Museum Chateau Ramezay, Montreal (CA) 2018 - 2020