Beyond the Barbed Wire: Experiences of Italian Canadians in WWII display case

Display case in the exhibition Beyond the Barbed Wire: Experiences of Italian Canadians in WWII. The display case contains three carved wooden picture frames and a charcoal sketch of internee Federico Ghislieri.

The three picture frames were carved by internee Federico Ghislieri while he was interned at Camp Kananaskis. While interned the internees were encouraged to take part in art and craft activities in the evenings to keep them occupied. Federico Ghislieri revealed a talent for wood carving during his time at Kananaskis, although he did not continue with it after his release.

The charcoal sketch of Federico Ghislieri was created by fellow Italian Canadian internee Guido Casini. There are several examples of portraits made by internees of their campmates. Many of the internees were talented artists and used their surroundings and each other as subjects in their work, which often provides an invaluable record of camp life.

The Italian Cultural Centre Society (ICC) in Vancouver, BC created a project entitled A Question of Loyalty, which recognized and commemorated the experiences of those affected by the internment of Italian Canadians in British Columbia during World War II. The project included a play (Fresco, written by Lucia Frangione in collaboration with the BellaLuna Ensemble) a book (Injustice Served, the story of BC’s WWII Italian Enemy Aliens by Ray Culos), and an exhibition at the Italian Cultural Centre (Beyond the Barbed Wire: Experiences of Italian Canadians in WWII). The exhibition was on display at Il Museo at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver, BC from March 8, 2012 to August 31, 2012.