Clash: Conflict and Its Consequences

After the Clash
(an evening at The Reach Gallery)

The gallery was crowded
that night–fifty
or more of us
for wall after overwhelming
wall of photographs:

Of soldiers exhausted and
staring without seeing,
A child missing a leg,
A refugee girl waiting
and wanting to board a ship
to somewhere–
anywhere that would take her.

More soldiers having a smoke,
mounded graves,
mourners and banner-wavers,
Kanesatake and Korea,
and it seems like everywhere,
The pond where the ashes of Auschwitz
still cry out
in the silence.

After all that
I could hardly sit
to listen to the speaker,
yet I’m sure I heard her say,
“In war there are only losers.”


Clash: Conflict and Its Consequences is an excellent exhibit of photographs drawn from the collection of the National Gallery of Canada. It includes both documentary photographs and re-enactments, and raises important questions of conflict, identity, witness, and how we remember.

These are not easy photographs to look at; even the curator said about one wall featuring photos of children, “This wall is very hard for me.” But if you’re able, I do recommend taking in this exhibit which continues until March 30. For gallery times and more information, please see The Reach.

10 thoughts on “Clash: Conflict and Its Consequences

  1. Thanks April I happen to be in Hope in a week and so will try to take this in….looks amazing Lois

    Sent from my iPad

    For many years, at great cost, I traveled through many countries, saw the high mountains, the oceans. The only things I did not see were the sparkling dewdrops in the grass just outside my door. Rabindranath Tagore


    1. And a little bit of poetic license too, Esther, for as much as I was still thinking about the photos for the rest of the evening, I also have 3 journal pages of notes from your talk and the discussion that followed. Your opening point that MCC approaches peace from the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ even made it into my opening remarks at our church annual meeting two days later 🙂 Thanks for your good work.

  2. Very moving, April. Your heart on the page.

    Do you know the photography of Howard Zehr? He uses his camera as a peacemaker. Love the connection between memory, photography, and history.

    1. Hi Shirley, I just googled Howard Zehr and found his website. What a treat to see his photos online! I can see what you mean by using his camera as a peacemaker. Thanks for introducing his work to me.

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