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Item Name: Painting
Title: Shadow of Things to Come (formerly titled Civilization's Encroachment)
Maker: Wesley Dennis
Year: 1954
Country: Canadian
Materials: oil on burlap
Measurements: overall: 42.3 cm x 63 cm
ID Number: PC83.1.10
Legal Status: PERMANENT COLLECTION


Extended Label Info: As a farmer from rural Saskatchewan, Wesley Dennis’ created paintings that captured aspects of the ever-changing Saskatchewan landscape such as light, weather, and topography. Dennis’ paintings are intended as visual allegories of the passing of time and of cultures on the Prairies. This theme is evident in his piece, Shadows of Things to Come (also inscribed as Civilizations Encroachment) featuring an Indigenous man surveying a valley (now Moose Jaw) below him, one that will soon be occupied by European settlers. Along with the alternate title, Dennis inscribed the names of all the European settlers who occupied that valley on the back of this painting. This piece documents a poignant moment in Canadian history defined by radical changes that affected the original homeland as well as the cultures of the Indigenous people. Wesley Dennis (1899-1981) was born in Wyoming, Ontario, but grew up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He became interested in art as a young age, copying reproductions of Group of Seven paintings. By fifteen, Dennis was experienced in drawing, watercolors and oils. Though he was never formally trained, Dennis read books on painting and studied the works of other artists. He was involved in the local art community, becoming a member of the Moose Jaw Fine Art Guild in 1952, eventually serving as president of the organization. Dennis’ work is represented in the collections of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, MacKenzie Art Gallery, The Mendel Art Gallery Collection at Remai Modern, Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery and others. His paintings have been exhibited, often in conjunction with those of his wife Eva Dennis, across Saskatchewan.

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