The Military Museums

Daughters of Uranium

The Military Museums :: Founders Gallery

Sept 27, 2019 - Jan 26, 2020 

Opening Reception: Friday, Sept 27, 2019
Time: 6:00 - 9:00 pm with remarks at 6:30 pm

Guided Tour

On Friday 27 Sept 5:00 pm, please join curator Christina Cuthbertson for a guided tour of Daughters of Uranium, an exhibition by Mary Kavanagh.
Please note the Opening Reception follows the tour at 6pm.


On July 16, 1945, when the United States detonated the world's first atomic bomb, the atmospheric radiation released by this event marked the beginning of what is now called the Nuclear Anthropocene.

In this exhibition, artist Mary Kavanagh offers the viewer an immersive experience with art that has coalesced after more than a decade of research. She repositions archival material, letters, photographs. artefacts and interviews. Personal responses find form in drawings, watercolours, sculpture, video, and arrangements of collections. For this exhibition, the artist has also written labels that extend her thinking about the works in the exhibition.

Mary Kavanagh brings into view current conditions of invisibility, exposing us to the present and to the presence of the Nuclear. Derived from the chemical sciences, the term "daughters of uranium" describes the radioactive decay chain of naturally occurring uranium, (U-235 being the crucial element for sustaining a nuclear chain reaction) while evoking generations born into an uncertain future.

Mary Kavanagh is an artist and Professor in the Department of Art, University of Lethbridge, where she teaches drawing, interdisciplinary studio, spatial art practice and critical theory. Her research interests include post atomic studies; ecology and trauma; feminist theory and activism; technologies of war; and histories of medicine and science. For the past decade, Kavanagh has documented military and nuclear sites in Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Alaska, Japan and Canada. In 2017 Kavanagh was awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant for her project, Atomic Tourist: Trinity, which explores nuclear anxiety in the 21st century.

Co-curators: Christina Cuthbertson and Lindsey Sharman
Co-organized by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and the Founders’ Gallery, University of Calgary

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