“Mary Pratt was highly notable for her mesmerizing depictions of otherwise mundane subjects through the usage of light and realism, which added a high level of sophistication and beauty to her pieces. Her works immediately drew me in due to their creativity and unforgiving contrast. Like Pratt, I strived to create a still life that surpassed the genre’s typical reputation of being impersonal and cold by selecting a range of personally significant objects, reflecting my life as a Canadian Tamil. The main subject is a figurine of the Hindu god Pillaiyar who is said to be the remover of obstacles, as seen with his multitude of hands, which bear tools of protection from evil spirits. I have grown to view him as a symbol of resilience for those seeking protection, something that has been understood in my family’s ancestral village in Sri Lanka for many generations, given its turbulent history.”
—Anjanan Sivaganeshan (Grade 11, University of Toronto Schools, Toronto, Ontario)
Light is one of the most prominent and defining features of Mary Pratt’s (1935–2018) masterful paintings, and she worked carefully to observe and represent the way it emanates, bounces, and moves by studying both real life and photography.