On July 8, 1917, Group of Seven painter Tom Thomson’s life ended tragically when he drowned in Canoe Lake, a popular access point to the waterways in Algonquin Park, Ont. One hundred years later, Canadian artist Paul Walde swam the 3 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 at various points along the route, and a flotilla of canoes carrying the band.
The work primarily exists in two forms — 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 at Touchstones Nelson with an opening reception on March 6. Touchstones will be the first gallery to premiere the video and score as an installation.