Foster Eastman plans big art show to honour Canada's military families
The former Buschlen Mowatt Gallery at 1445 West Georgia Street will be used as a showroom next year to commemorate Canadian war vets in Afghanistan.
Foster Eastman, founder of Axis Hair Salon, told the Straight that he will rent the space for another seven months as he gets ready to launch a new exhibit there in April.
"We’re going to create a mural with 162 panels to represent every soldier that’s died," he said.
It will be launched shortly after Canada officially withdraws its troops from Afghanistan.
Eastman spoke about his plans on the final day of his exhibit on 20th-century China called Mao: Contemporary Works on the Cultural Revolution.
In one corner of the gallery are pieces he has already created to reflect the mission in Afghanistan.
On one wall is a painting studded with nails, bringing up thoughts of improvised-explosive devices that killed Canadian soldiers.
Another piece shows pins shaped in the Canadian flag, representing each American and Canadian soldier who died in the central Asian republic.
He plans to spend the next four months working on the panels.
The show will also include a tribute to Canadian civilians and one diplomat who were also killed in Afghanistan.
"It's just so sad when you see so many lives lost with such good intentions," the multimedia artist said. "We ran over there with the idea that we were to be peacekeepers. It really wasn't the case. We were at war."
He wants his exhibit to become a fundraiser for the Veterans Transition Program, which helps former military personnel return to civilian life.
Eastman said that in the wake of military suicides, it's imperative for Canadians to do something to help the vets and their families.
"The panel is going to recognize the survivors," he emphasized. "So it's about the spouses, the children, and the parents. So it's going to be what I consider my Guernica. It will be sad. It will be emotional—but it will be real."