In 1959 Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker secretly commissioned the construction of an underground bunker in Ottawa, intended to house key members of the government and military in the event of a nuclear attack. What is now known as the Diefenbunker is today a Cold War museum and has recently hosted its first ever artist-in-residence, Gail Bourgeois.
For six months from November 2013 Bourgeois was given exclusive access to the 100,000 square foot bunker, the permanent collection, library and archives. The results of this unique residency is now on display in the exhibition To warn other Canadians. Throughout the four levels of the building the artist has arranged over 100 site specific artworks alongside existing museum exhibits. The new works explore the theme of communication by reflecting on the bunker’s Cold War history and the people that inhabited it.
To warn other Canadians remains at the Diefenbunker until 31 August 2014 and the artist is hosting monthly public tours. You can find out more and sign up to follow the Diefenbunker blog on WordPress.
Image: Gail Bourgeois, Means of Survival, inkjet print of original drawing in pencil, 2014.