During March 1993, the Canadian Armed Forces Civilian Artist Program commissioned Allan MacKay to document Operation Deliverance and Cordon – humanitarian aid missions carried our by the Canadian forces in Somalis. During his assignment, MacKay stayed in the now notorious military compound Beiet Huen where a Somalian youth was tortured and murdered by members of the Canadian Airborne. Somalia Yellow Vignettes investigates people’s intense struggle for survival within East Africa’s hot and desolate terrain while commenting on the humanistic and political scandals that have gained much media attention as the Somalia crisis. Included drawings, prints, and videos demonstrate MacKay’s painterly aesthetic while providing a unique glimpse of everyday life mixed with war. However subtle, the soldier’s presence continuously penetrate the vignettes, but life remains pervasive. The exhibition Somalia Yellow Vignettes, will coincide with a related, collaborative performance event that is currently being planned by Allen MacKay and Denise Clark for the One Yellow Rabbit Theatre’s annual High Performance Rodeo event, January 7th – 10th, 1998.
Allan Harding MacKay has exhibited his visual artworks nationally and internationally for almost thirty years. He is known foremost for his large-scale figurative drawings which often depict the figure alone or in landscape. These subtly rendered linear drawings are imbued with color invoking a diverse range of emotion from the viewer. The work is consistently imbued with sensitivity, humour, historical and political poignancy. Such works have been acquired by many Canadian and Swiss public galleries and private and corporate collectors. He has received awards from the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council.