Visitors to the
Walnut Web page often write to ask "What happened to the
passengers?" "What kind of lives did they have?"
"Were they happy in their new homeland?" I am proud to say that
everyone became productive citizens of Canada, working hard to build homes for
themselves and families.
Matti Idnurm has
kindly shared what happened to his family after they arrived in Halifax.
In particular, he has shared some photographs of his mother's paintings. They are very
special to him and have never been publicly displayed before. So strong
were Melanie's remembrances of her beloved homeland, that she painted scenes
from her childhood by memory. We thank Mr. Idnurm for sharing his mother's
painted recollections with us. In his own words, he describes his mother
and her paintings:
Through my Mother's Eyes - Paintings by Melanie Idnurm
and Melanie Idnurm arrived in
aboard the Walnut. After a short stay in
, the rented a flat in
Ontario. After about 18
months they purchased a house off the Danforth in
Toronto. To help with expenses, Melanie obtained a job with Wintraub and Sons - a
company that manufactured an assortment of other hand painted items.
Melanie worked in the painting department applying hand painted designs,
flowers, etc on various items.
her children growing up, Melanie found time on her hands and began to
experiment with her love of creating something of
beauty. At her job, she had developed a sense of creativity as well as a
feeling for colour and balance. At first she experimented with water colours,
doing flower scenes. She quickly moved to flower pastels but now included
flowers she recalled from her childhood memories in
Estonia. Pastels did not seem to fit Melanie’s creative needs and, as
expensive as they were, she now purchased oil paints. From that point on she
worked only in oils using an assortment of techniques.
topics for her art, were always close to her heart. She did a number of
, the tower, and the churches and scenes she recalled from her childhood. She
would sometimes point to a painting and recall how she would walk past this
scene on her way to school. When
painting the rural scenery around
, she would recall her farming roots in
and include scenes from her childhood farm and farming activities.
Melanie painted about 100 or so paintings over a span of about ten years. She
never sold or even attempted to sell any of her work. From time to time she
would give a painting to a family member or close friend but always asked that
it be returned if no longer appreciated. Each of her works had a special meaning
to her and she always knew where each piece was. As a consequence, even today,
her works are closely held within the family unit and by a few close friends or
painted through the late 1950s and through the 1960s and then, for some unknown
reason, she stopped. Her work was never put on display or evaluated for merit.
She did not want recognition or publicity, but rather only wanted the personal
pleasure she got from recalling her memories and creating each piece.
Idnurm - November 2011
Tallinn's City Towers
A Homeland Farm.
Tallinn's Town Hall
Linda Monument in
A Typical Estonian
We thank Matt Idnurm for allowing us to glimpse through her paintings, into
his mother's fondest of memories -- especially of those of her homeland.
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page was last updated 27/12/2018 08:05 PM
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