Part of the series Repatriation, this large-scale photographic mural, Corner of the Courageous, Repatriation Ceremony for Sergeant Martin Goudreault, Grenville St., Toronto, Ontario, June 9th, 2010 (2012), in MOCCA’s courtyard considers notions of nationalism, public duty, community, the media, heroism and sacrifice as pictorial subjects. Photographed in the manner of large-format street photography, McFarland creates a portrait of a repatriation ceremony for a fallen Canadian soldier returning home to Canada after being killed while on active duty in Afghanistan. A composite digital technique enables the artist to document a complete view of the scene.
Before a soldier’s body is turned over to his family for a private funeral service, it must first be repatriated to the country. This involves a funeral caravan that drives from Canadian Forces Base Trenton east of Toronto, along the Highway of Heroes on the 401. Included in the convoy is the hearse, the fallen soldier’s family and friends, and members of the military.
Corner of the Courageous is the name given to the spot McFarland chose to photograph on the repatriation route. At this location, the last corner the funeral procession takes before arriving at the Chief Coroner’s office in the city centre, members from various emergency service organizations come together to pay their last respects to one of their fallen comrades. This unofficial grouping was first inspired by the members of various veterans groups also in attendance. McFarland’s mural reinserts the sombre scene back into the Toronto landscape, to carry on the venerable tradition of History painting in photographic form.
Presented in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. Supported by Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc.
Curated by Bonnie Rubenstein