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"Behind the Lines" series by Bill Horne

Title Map for "Behind the Lines"
Artist's Statement

This series is based on responses to letters I've written about various issues, primarily to Members of Parliament. I silkscreen their replies as symbolic curtains or boxes which in most cases reveal images that contradict spin. This gives me a way to pose layers of reality: what images and what truths lie behind political language?

To increase the sense of irony for the viewer, I like to use materials associated with the topic of the letter. This process takes me in new directions as a printmaker and enables me to amplify the authenticity of each piece.

Working on “Behind the Lines” is one way I can integrate my art with my activism, make sense of what's happening around us, and hopefully inspire others to take action. It’s also a biographical body of work, because letter writing has been an important part of my life since my childhood. Letters to and from home and friends sustained me when I was away at school in my teens. That’s when I wrote my first letter to a politician – Mayor Jean Drapeau.

From 1979-81 I was Central America Special Action Coordinator for Canada’s anglophone branch of Amnesty International. This experience taught me a lot about the power of letters and exposed me to a wider political dimension. I continue to write letters to politicians and continue to create new pieces in this series.


Many people have helped and inspired me to do this work. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Polaris Institute, the Council of Canadians, and Linda McQuaig have been among my best sources for accurate economic and political information. It was David Macfarlane who suggested I write to Jean Drapeau when I was 15. Oliver Kelhammer, Joyce Majiski, Rafe Churchill and Sophia Isajiw helped with concepts, printing and construction at the Banff Centre. Linden MacNielson, Elaine Briere and Brenda Hemsing kindly gave permission to use their photographs. Lisa Kokin showed me how to make sheets from sausage casing. Thanks also to Aleta Wallace, Ian Crawford, Lois Herrick, Yoly Garcia, Paul Gelok, Dennis Siemens and Jim Close for material help, to Claire Kujundzic, Peter von Tiesenhausen, Beth Holden, Sima Elizabeth Shefrin, Paulette Seymour, Paul Unruh, Annerose Georgeson, Sandy Bunce, David Whittaker and Paula Scott for advice and support. Claire and Beth were instrumental in editing and selecting the monoprints shown in Nanaimo, and I couldn't have done any of this without Claire.

Other prints by Bill Horne
Title Map for "Behind the Lines"

prints by Claire Kujundzic

All copyrights to the artworks appearing are reserved by the Artist. No unauthorized duplication, public exhibition or performance is permitted. Distribution of the artworks through any means including electronic, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.