On July 8, 1917, Group of Seven painter Tom Thomson’s life met a tragic end when he drowned in Canoe Lake, a popular access point to the waterways in Algonqiun Park, Ontario. One hundred years later, Canadian artist Paul Walde swam the three km length of the lake for his work titled Tom Thomson Centennial Swim.
The swim was accompanied by a series of interconnected events: a brass band with a mandolin soloist performing a new long form music composition by Walde, three synchronized swimming routines a various points along the route and a flotilla of canoes carrying the band.
The work primarily exists in two forms – that of the event itself and an audio/video work based on the footage of the event.
Tom Thomson Centennial Swim runs March 7 to May 31 with an opening reception on March 6. Touchstones Nelson will be the first gallery to premiere the video and score as an installation.
– Touchstones Nelson