CFAP Mary Kavanagh

The Expulsion (in white)

Medium: Ink-jet print on BFK Rives archival paper
Dimensions: 61 x 168 cm
Date: 2013

As part of her ongoing body of work examining Cold War and nuclear testing programs, Mary Kavanagh’s participation in the Canadian Forces Artists Program (CFAP) included visiting Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), where she filmed the Radiological Analysis and Defence group engaged in radiation, biological and chemical detection training. These photographic portraits depict DRDC personnel, Jason Brown and Aimee Jones, wearing protective clothing designed by Canadian military scientists for defence and combat.



The Expulsion (in green)

Medium: Ink-jet print on BFK Rives archival paper
Dimensions: 61 x 168 cm
Date: 2013

The highly sophisticated suits were subsequently used during the Syrian Civil War in 2013 to protect against the use of chemical weapons. With its emphasis on her subjects’ underlying vulnerability, through its imagery and title, The Expulsion subtly makes reference to the bible story of Adam and Eve following their banishment from the Garden of Eden. It also critiques the promise, represented by the helmets, that technology will bring safety beyond the reach of atmospheric fallout and toxic drift.