Saturday, October 27, 2007

Behind the Wire: The Wartime Diary and Art of Robert Buckham


(WEST VANCOUVER, B.C.) – Opening November 7, 2007 and running through to February 9, 2008, the West Vancouver Museum presents BEHIND THE WIRE: THE WARTIME DIARY AND ART OF ROBERT BUCKHAM. The exhibition features evocative illustrations of WWII from artist Robert Buckham’s prisoner of war diary, journal and artwork. Also included are illustrations and paintings the artist produced after the war.

On his tenth bombing sortie over Germany on April 8, 1943, Captain Robert Buckham and the crew of his Wellington MK.III bomber were downed near Dusseldorf. Miraculously, the entire crew survived. Buckham was captured and imprisoned in the infamous prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Germany. In his illustrated war time diaries, Buckham recorded his internment, the trials of day to day existence, the failed “great escape” popularized by the Hollywood movie and his eventual “forced march to freedom” through one of Europe’s coldest winters.

Buckham concealed his precious diary and drawings in old milk cans in order to protect them during the months he and over 10, 000 other PoWs endured a forced march in the dead of winter westward through Germany in front of the Russian advance. Those who survived were eventually liberated and in 1945, Buckham returned to Canada to resume his career as an illustrator and artist. His drawings of Canada’s countryside and cityscapes graced the pages of the Globe and Mail for many years. His art was inspired by nature and local landscapes, as well as his frequent travels.

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