Special Screening of the NFB's Film The Portrait
Rideau Hall, Monday, September 24, 2012
Welcome to Rideau Hall, home of the people of Canada, for this special screening of The Portrait.
It is quite fitting that we have both subjects of this film with us here today. Of course, I am speaking of the artist Phil Richards and of the official portrait of Her Majesty The Queen that hangs over us in the Ballroom.
This portrait is destined to become an iconic image of The Queen of Canada. In 2013, for example, Canada Post will issue a commemorative stamp featuring this painting. And today, we will see how this portrait of Her Majesty The Queen came to be.
In the film, Hubert Davis will take us on a journey not only to witness how this painting was conceived, but also to explore why we choose to honour people in this way. In re examining the art and meaning of the portrait, Mr. Davis pays homage to one of portraiture’s master practitioners.
To be chosen to paint The Queen is an honour, but the task is a complex undertaking. As this film shows, it was a tireless effort, requiring many months of preparation, of design and sketches, of mock-ups and maquettes. Mr. Richards proved more than capable of this task, and I think we can all agree that the final work is stunning as a result of his painstaking work.
Mr. Richards, you deserve to be celebrated for your skill. That is why I am so pleased that the National Film Board was able to produce this short film, which now becomes a piece of our history.
For years, the NFB has been recording and preserving our history, ensuring that generations can share in significant occasions, in our sadness and joys, and in our quiet moments of pride. Because of the efforts of so many over the years, we can experience many milestones in our history through the NFB lens.
We have with us today many young Canadians, some of whom may one day take up a camera to document a part of our history to come. I hope that they walk away with inspiration and a new appreciation of our past.
To Mr. Richards and Mr. Davis, I offer my congratulations on your success. And to all of you, I hope that you enjoy this film.