When it was first unveiled on Empire Day in 1948, Fred Ross's mural The Destruction of War & Rebuilding the World through Education held a special place in the civic consciousness of New Brunswick citizens. Originally commissioned as a memorial to the 63 Fredericton High School students whose lives were lost in the Second World War, the mural was later dismantled, placed in storage, and eventually disappeared.
In the 1990s, a chance discovery of the full-scale mural drawings, now housed at the National Gallery of Canada, provided what would eventually become a treasure map-like route to the mural's restoration. With what grew to be nationwide support, three studio assistants, who were guided by Fred Ross and the drawings that he had created more than 60 years earlier, retraced the developmental process of the mural in what would prove to be the most ambitious reanimation of a cultural treasure in Canadian art history. This is the unprecedented story of the mural's history — its creation, loss, and eventual restoration and return to public prominence.
William Forrestall, editor of Redeemed: Restoring the Lost Fred Ross Mural, is a practising artist with over one hundred solo and group exhibitions across Canada and internationally.
His first solo exhibition was held at the Ring Gallery of Art in Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1986. With the support of Fred and Sheila Ross, his most recent was held at Kinsman Robinson Galleries in Toronto, Ontario.
His work has been featured in two book-length monographs, WILLIAMforrestall: PAINTINGSdrawings, published by the New Brunswick Museum in conjunction with his retrospective exhibition in 2010, and Objects for Study, based on a series of drawings he did at the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University.
Pub date: November 1, 2013