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344 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 thaw in Cold War tensions. This explains why Pearson was the first NATO foreign minister to visit the Soviet Union and why Canada granted theUSSR Most Favoured Nation status as early as 1955. Glazov=s book leaves readers to ponder what might have happened if the Liberal policy of accommodation had not been distorted by Diefenbaker=s incompetence. The St Laurent government and its chief mediator, Lester B. Pearson, played a critical role in the Suez Crisis in 1956 by demonstrating the significant impact a middle power could have on an international crisis. Further research may reveal the potential role Canada may have played in mediating and perhaps even ending the Cold War. Until this research is done, Canada cannot be given much credit for helping to win this war. (STACEY ZEMBRZYCKI) Linda Ghan. Gaston Petit B The Kimono and the Cross: Interview with an Artist in Japan Signature Editions. 142. $22.95 The fruit of one Canadian expatriate=s fascination with another, this book consists of a constructed interview by Linda Ghan, author and current head of the Canadian Studies program at Japan=s Ibaraki University, with artist Gaston Petit, born (1930) and raised in Shawinigan, Quebec, and ordained a Dominican priest in 1959. Petit has pursued his dual career as priest and artist in Tokyo since 1961, although world travel and extended stays in Quebec have also been part of his life pattern. Dealing as it does with crosscultural experiences, The Kimono and the Cross fits well within Signature Editions= interests. The literary interview as a genre for exploring personalities and ideas depends on the ability of the interviewer and subject to engage one another. There is no indication how Ghan and Petit came to make one another=s acquaintance, but there is a rapport, the product of which is enhanced by Ghan=s evident skill in shaping B distilling, editing, resequencing, and structuring B the varied exchanges (over two years) into a cogent form. Topics of discussion are diverse, encompassing (among others) Petit=s childhood and family, friendships, collecting activities, philosophies, aesthetics, world religions, and cultural productions. There is some inevitable overlapping from chapter to chapter, but the unifying thread is his art. While Ghan at times certainly asserts her presence, the stage by and large is left to Petit. His responses are often lengthy, expository here, anecdotal there (he is an engaging raconteur), often insightful and almost always revealing. One gets a good sense of Petit=s integration of theology and aesthetics, of his understanding of the creative process, of the impact of Japanese aesthetics and sensibilities on his work. Ghan=s willingness to let humanities 345 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Petit expound, however, results in statements that some readers will find contentious. For example, Petit rejects the >installation,= as an invalid form of >art,= He is similarly dismissive of social and political issues of marginalization (>artists of colour, women artists, AIDS=) and the artists that embrace them. Such perspectives beg for critical probing. In this and several other instances, the book fascinates almost as much for what it does not address as for what it does. Petit=s career as an artist B teaching, commissions, exhibitions, and collections B has been played out mainly in Japan (Quebec and Paris are satellite sites). In Canada he is perhaps best appreciated for his role as a cultural ambassador in Japanese/Canadian ventures in the visual arts. At one point in the interview, Ghan promises Petit that a discussion about the Canadian influences in his work will take place, but, alas, no such exchange materializes. Ghan does include a final section that comprises colour reproductions of a representative selection of Petit=s art (his oeuvre B prints, paintings, mixed media, sculpture, stained glass B is inspired by a wide range of cultural currents, among them Eastern, Western, modernist and traditional, embracing both abstract and figurative imagery). However, although discursive references are made in the interview to works reproduced in this pictorial essay, no figure numbers (or index) are provided to negotiate between text and image...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 344-345
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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