(A Visual Documentary of A Baby Boomer’s Lament)
What happens when an artist needs a 40 foot wall to undertake a major project? Well, Dennis Evans, a painter and potter living in Naramata, wondered just that. After having an idea to create a mural with scenes capturing life changing events quintessential in shaping the 1960’s and beyond, Dennis needed a place to make several months of research become reality. The only obstacle was that the work needed to be done on the biggest canvas he’d ever undertaken to paint. When finished, the mural would measure 40 feet long by five feet high.
Hearing about his dilemma, the Executive Director of the Naramata Centre offered a solution. How about using the buffet room adjacent to the dining centre and kitchens? Details for occupying the space were negotiated, and work began in earnest on the first week of November 2018. Navigating the technical challenges with “DaVinci and Michelangelo-esk inventiveness”, the 40’ x 5’ canvas was erected on a temporary frame, and Dennis spent every day from November through early January painting his magnus opus.
Many in the audience will recognize the iconic images of the decades and events that are represented in the piece, and Dennis hopes these images will trigger memories of your own. The work is about the idealistic youth of the ‘60’s, their aspirations and hopes for the future and how these finished and unfinished revolutions have shaped our lives today and into the future. Boomers turned thirty, got married, had kids, got a job, bought a house, filled it up with “stuff” (we started mass consumerism), went to war, were against war, polluted the world, are trying to clean up our mess, et cetera. The painting, of course, has the artist’s own reflections and remembrances. Viewers will have others.
Framed by carefully executed architectural details which gradually deteriorate by the end of the piece, the columns are resurrected in the last panel with optimism and hope for the future. Dennis challenges the viewer to think about the “revolution” that opened the ‘60’s and what Generation Z has inherited during the fifty years of the Boomer generation and the challenges they will face over their coming fifty years.
You can view a panoramic video of Dennis’s piece here.