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Canada’s Election: No Time For Allegories

October 2015



"Selfie 5," part of Allan Harding MacKay's "Court Painter: Good To Go" political-satire show at the Cube Gallery. Courtesy of Allan MacKay.

“Selfie 5,” part of Allan Harding MacKay’s “Court Painter: Good To Go” political-satire show at the Cube Gallery. Courtesy of Allan MacKay.

There’s two ways to look at satirical images. One is to view the weird juxtaposition of things, people and events and get a surreal laugh out of it. The other is to understand the context of whatever is being satirized and get a surreal laugh out of it.

Either way you laugh.

That has been the reaction at the Cube Gallery since Tuesday from those walking around the front room of 1285 Wellington St. West and looking at the two dozen or so political collages by Allan Harding MacKay in his show Court Painter: Good To Go. He has a particular thing for disgraced Senator Mike Duffy because both originate in Prince Edward Island, and no one likes a home boy embarrassing the home turf. But it is pretty obvious Prime Minister Stephen Harper is the main target.

Unlike the allegories of original court painters, MacKay’s messages are not all that subtle, but they are brilliant in capturing the slimy expediency of politics. At a time when Canadians are having to recognize Harper’s boot marks on what many people feel is Canadian-ness, MacKay obviously couldn’t resist. Politics have long been a worm in MacKay’s mind, from his time as a war artist with the Canadian military in Somalia and Afghanistan to his destructive protest on Parliament Hill.

Court Painter: Good To Go is one of the very few art exhibits in Ottawa during the past decade that deserves to be seen. It will make you laugh, and then wonder why Stephen Harper looks so smug. It runs until October 25th.

Unfolding’s home page will feature a different image from the show every day until the election is over October 19.

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