Ancestry: Art Meets History In A Revealing Exhibit

Finding new and exciting experiences in a metropolis like Toronto can be difficult. Our bright cityscape glistens with potential, yet, finding an authentically riveting adventure is not always as easy as it seems. Ancestry developed an art gallery experience unlike any other, where art meets history… think war stories mixed with augmented reality.

Ancestry: History Revealed
Photo courtesy of George Pimentel

During this year’s Remembrance period, Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, brought Canada’s wartime stories to life through the History Revealed event, an immersive, augmented-reality exhibit showcasing the famed works of Canadian wartime artist Molly Lamb Bobak. Bobak (1920 – 2014) was born in Vancouver to celebrated photographer Harold Mortimer-Lamb and she aspired to become an artist. She was dubbed the first Canadian woman war artist; her love of painting led Bobak to join the Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC), which brought her overseas serving in London wherein she depicted phenomenal scenes of parades, marches, gas drills and a multitude of training exercises for female military officials. Bobak was a veteran artist, having been one of the first women to make a living off of her earnings and she married fellow war artist, Bruno Bobak. Known for her style of painting, drawing and watercolours, Bobak was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1973 and presented with the Order of Canada in 1995.

Ancestry: History Revealed
Photo courtesy of George Pimentel

This exhibit is completely immersive. From Bobak’s eye-catching illustrations to portrait sessions with famed photographer George Pimentel, audiences were subject to a unique experience. Ancestry immerses audiences right into Bobak’s artwork. Similar to a virtual reality experience, the canvas comes to life right in the palm of your hands – using your phone or a tablet provided by event organizers. Whether you are a history expert or art enthusiast this revealing exhibit offers a new take on both the history of Canada and historic Canadian artworks. Many of Bobak’s iconic works were featured in the History Revealed exhibit including Private Roy, Canadian Women’s Army Corp (1946), Canadian Women’s Army Corps Officer Cadets and N.C.O.’s Waiting for the Montreal Train and Basic Trainees Learning to Stand at Ease. The projectile nature of the pieces showcased offer audiences the opportunity to truly engage with the intricate details of each work of art.

Ancestry: History Revealed
Portrait Session with George Pimentel; photo courtesy of George Pimentel

Ancestry brought this experience to Toronto in an effort to showcase the unique history of Canada. Genealogists, Crista Cowan and Jenn Utley were on-site providing attendees with take-home DNA kits and consultations. Having sat down with Cowan – who could only be described as a lovely blend of vivacious energy mixed nurturing energy – she provided a wealth of knowledge on the importance of learning about family lineage and interesting facts about human evolution, including the theory which suggests homo sapiens today (modern day humans), have a common ancestor. This means, to some degree, we are all related through what is known as a Mitochondrial Eve. Cowan offered her expertise on a host of topics including genetic patterns present in different areas of the world, how statistics suggest some populations are less reluctant than others to trace their genealogy and how the process of DNA collection and analysis has evolved since Ancestry started this mission of genomic exploration in 2006.

Ancestry: History Revealed
Genealogist, Crista Cowan consulting attendee; photo courtesy of George Pimentel

If you are interested in learning more about your lineage, geographic roots or meeting any unknown relatives, then check out Ancestry and order your DNA kit today! Pimentel can be contacted via his website.

Ancestry: History Revealed
Genealogists, Crista Cowan & Jenn Utley; photo courtesy of George Pimentel

 

Ancestry: History Revealed
Painting created on-site by event artist, Katrina Canedo (photographed here) of Molly Lamb Bobak; photo courtesy of George Pimentel

 

Ancestry: History Revealed
Photo courtesy of George Pimentel

 

 

About Michelle Ormsby 16 Articles
Michelle is a Toronto-based social justice advocate. With a background in Broadcast Journalism, Michelle is a freelance artist, writer and metaphysical healer. As a self-described wanderer, she enjoys sharing unique Arts, Black Culture and Civic experiences with Torontonians and can be reached via her socials: IG @CtrlxJoy or LinkedIn (Michelle Ormsby).