Enriching the Arts

Odysseus



Odysseus is the classic trickster-hero. His story is based on the traditional folktale of the homecoming husband. Odysseus and his 10-year journey home are archetypes, or a recurrent symbol or motif, and therefore are the basis for stories and myths told over the centuries. The basic story of Odysseus is a universal story of longing for and journeying home and thus can be reimagined for contemporary narratives.

In the panels presented here, David Nielsen and Craig Friesen have retold the Odyssey as the story of the First World War. The soldier goes to war overseas, faces many dangers and distractions, and is waylaid by injury on his way home. Taken care of by a nurse, he finally returns home to his waiting wife and infant son. Cyclops is shown as a single propeller aircraft, the Lotus-eaters become soldiers bored into apathy by inaction and waiting, the desecrated temple of Athena is converted into the bombed out cathedrals of Europe, the goddess Circe’s poisonous drink becomes the clouds of poison gas, the Underworld, or land of the dead, correlates to the no-man’s land between enemy lines and the Trojan Horse is reimagined as a tank.

Visually, the panels reference both comic book panels and war time propaganda posters, infusing the story of Odysseus with many levels of meaning. All the panels were created collaboratively by Nielsen and Friesen, who worked simultaneously to create these large scale compositions on plywood. The original images have been photographed, scaled down in size and dry mounted for presentation.

Odysseus is a touring exhibition developed by the Alberta Society of Artists for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Travelling Exhibition Program. This exhibition is currently circulating throughout the southwest/central parts of Alberta. The AFA Travelling Exhibition Program is financially supported by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

HUB @ 302 Showcase Gallery
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The Alberta Society of Artists
Crossroads Art Centre
#302 – 1235 26th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2G 1R7
ASA Phone: (403) 265-0012

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