Sunday, December 6, 2015

1181 - This Day In History

Today is the anniversary of the massacre at L'Ecole Polytechnique.  I discuss this event in today's JSVB post.  You may or may not agree with my views.

December 6th is a black day in Canadian history.  On this day in 1989, Marc Lepine walked  into a classroom  at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal and shot 28 people, killing 14. All were women.  Lepine committed suicide.  His notes showed a strong hatred towards women and a desire towards violence. 

Since then, Canada has enacted stricter gun laws and has stronger safeguards to try to prevent this kind of action.  Perhaps the lessons learned at Polytechnique averted a similar tragedy in the Dawson College shootings of 2006.

For me, personally, these events are distant, unpleasant memories.  I had a teaching job in the early 2000's, and one of my students was the sister of one of the women killed by Lepine.  We had a number of sobering conversations, I recall. 

The other day, I received a phone call asking if I could quickly supply some artwork for one of the many local campaigns for National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada. The artist they hired had neither the time nor the grasp of the event to make proper graphics.  By proper, I mean that the images had to show women who had been assaulted, which is not a commendable thing to render.  The original artist had no concept of what to do, and what he provided failed to evoke any real response.

As an artist, I do deal with violent issues.  It would be so nice to say, "I don't promote violence, and I am not a violent person."  I imagine I am less violent than some, but I do have my savageries. I enjoy violent movies and books.  I play violent video games.  I draw and write using violent themes. Sometimes I show my temper, although that's just shouting and swearing.

I had no trouble creating a concept for the artwork, and it took me less than two hours to complete the task.  I found myself wondering how it could be so easy.  I guess I've seen enough violence to be able to draw it.  I envy the other artist who had no concept. 

These images are life-sized so that they could be printed that way using a large-format printer, and then cut out like victim chalk outlines at a crime scene.  I shrank them to fit into JSVB, but you can click on them to read the text, all of which comes from the Status Of Women Canada commemorative website provided by the Canadian Government: