The Colours of Citizen Arar – Garry Neill Kennedy

2008 Finalist

Creator: Garry Neill Kennedy
Nominator: Ray Cronin

Garry Neill Kennedy’s The Colours of Citizen Arar is a powerful, audacious painting that occupied the entire two-story LeRoy and Marguerite Zwicker Gallery at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia from June 2007 to March 2008. Dramatically filling the space with intense vertical bands of colour, the work’s more sinister references slowly cohere out of the black forms of the superimposed text: these are the colours of the bruises, the humiliations and instruments of torture experienced by Canadian citizen Maher Arar during his infamous interrogation in Syria. One of Nova Scotia’s premier artists, internationally-known Kennedy has often dealt with issues of power in his conceptually challenging paintings; however, this is his most overtly political, and arguably most moving, work.