Stay cozy inside Museum London to escape the chilly, blustering winter and warm up with stories of Canadian music

Museum London holds four music-themed exhibitions as the Juno Awards approach: Art is Art, Polaris Music Prize Posters, Juno Photography Exhibition, and Women To the Front.

All exhibitions told stories of music beyond the songs by beloved Canadian artists.

Women To the Front, in particular, sparks a conversation about women in the Canadian music industry.

Onstage and backstage: Sparking discussions of women in music.

Through visual and audio media, the exhibition, produced by Savanah Sewell, expresses accomplishments and challenges faced by women in music. Reading and listening to women’s first-hand experiences of discouragement and underestimation they’ve dealt with in the industry is a reminder that while there have been some strides, there’s still a long way to go for equality.

Sewell’s impressive accomplishments include, but are absolutely not limited to, her work with the Grickle Grass Festival, Girls Rock Camp, and Dundas Place.

She based Women To the Front on her own experiences of producing a show, and included other women’s experiences in the different aspects of the project. The exhibition is an ongoing conversation about equality in the music industry.

Savanah Sewell in front of the Women To the Front Exhibition in London, Ontario.
Savanah Sewell wants to continue talking about equality in the music industry

“The floodgates were opened,” she said in a media scrum. “As soon as you hear a story from one, we’ve all heard it. We’ve all experienced it.”


Sewell hopes sharing the many experiences will assure support for women in music.

“If I’m working behind the scenes at a festival with somebody,” she said. “And they don’t feel comfortable, they can come to me and I can help them work through that process.”

Continuing the Conversation

Sewell also said the best way to advocate for equality is to include women in the industry. She said podcasts, panel discussions, and shows featuring female bands are some examples.

“We just have to take up space,” she said. “Cause it’s time for us to start taking up space.”

A map with a bunch of rubber bands as part of the Women To the Front Exhibition in London, Ontario.
The map highlights where musicians like Tegan and Sara, Alanis Morissette, and Meghan Patrick have toured, along with the difficulties of touring.

During the scrum, Sewell emphasized encouraging children to explore all of their possibilities in the industry. As part of Juno week, there will be a Girls Rock Camp during March Break at the TAP Centre for Creativity.

Christopher Campbell, the chair of the Juno host city committee, said that the message behind Women To the Front is an important one.

“It’s one thing to come out and celebrate,” Campbell said. “and it’s wonderful to celebrate iconic artists, but it’s another thing to provoke thought and to stop and think about who we are and how we can be better and what we can do to become better allies.”

Along with Women To the Front, the other exhibitions illustrate stories of the Canadian music industry.

Revealing musicians’ other talents

Art is Art features paintings, drawings, and photographs by Canada’s renowned musicians. Whether or not you’re familiar with the musicians’ visual art outside of their music or not, you will learn something new.

Four drawings by Kevin Hearn of the Bare Naked Ladies at Museum London in London, Ontario.
Who knew a long-time member of the Bare Naked Ladies was into drawing?

For example, I wouldn’t have known that Bare Naked Ladies’s Kevin Hearn drew on hotel room stationary, like I have done sometimes, until I saw his drawings.

A time capsule of Canadian music

The Juno Photography Exhibition is like time traveling through 40 years of the many ceremonies across the country. The collection begins with black and white photos and then transitions into full colour photos.

Recognizing all kinds of musicians and memorable Juno moments gears excitement for when the ceremony and other events hit town.

A non-profit also celebrating Canadian music, the Polaris Music Prize, is in a museum setting for the first time. The Polaris Music Prize, presented as posters, celebrates a Canadian album for its music, regardless of genre or commercial success.

Two Polaris Music Prize Posters beside each other. The first one is the 2012 winner "Metals" by Feist. Pat Hamou designed the poster. The second one is Tanya Tagaq's "Animism," which won in 2014. Shannon Reid designed the poster.
It’s the first time Polaris Music Prize posters, such as the one honouring Feist’s “Metals” (Pat Hamou) and Tanya Tagaq’s “Animism” (Shannon Reid,) are in a museum for the first time.

The colourful poster art pops across the museum’s white walls. The posters also spark interest in listening to the albums.

Campbell said as each guest’s walk through the exhibitions will be unique to them.

“Everyone is going to have their own interpretation,” he said. “And their own experience. That’s part of the amazing things that come into a museum like this.”

While waiting for the Junos to come to town, be sure to visit Museum London and indulge in many moments across the Canadian music timeline. You can visit all of four exhibitions until March 31.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

eighteen + eight =