Becoming Laura is an iconic work both in terms of Canada’s celebration of the War of 1812 and in terms of the level of ironic detail in this large-format giclée print. Meryl McMaster, herself of First Nations ancestry, personifies both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal sides of the allies as she marches through the night to warn of an impending assault. The shadow cutting of the Laura figure references the way portraits were created at the turn of the 19th century. The placement of the wildflowers and grasses and the overlay of words and gauze-like screen add to the theatrical drama of the struggle and the determination to succeed.
Meryl McMaster, a recent graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, lives and works in Ottawa.