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Women's history at centre of NOTL Musuem online Doc Club discussions

Two NFB films being discussed via Zoom Friday, March 1; register now for March 21 lecture about the solar eclipse with Dr. Brian Pihack
A still from the NFB film 'Portrait of the Artist – As an Old Lady', one of two films being discussed for the NOTL Museum's Doc Club March 1.

Though Canada celebrates Women’s History Month in October, our neighbours to the south declared in 1987 that they would do so every March. 

More timely, though, is the fact that International Women's Day is Friday, March 8. With that in mind, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum celebrates women’s history with its Doc Club on March 1. 

Two films from the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) are the centre of the online discussion to be held that day at 10 a.m.

In the 1982 short film Portrait of the Artist – As an Old Lady, director Gail Singer focuses her lens on Paraskeva Clark, an artist, socialist and feminist who is her own woman at her own cost. 

The film is a cameo of an irascible and sometimes touching artist whose work won her a place in exhibitions and private collections. Born in Russia in 1898, she eventually married a Canadian and moved to Toronto. Because her canvases reflect a strong social conscience, she had to struggle hard to earn a place in the nation's ultra-conservative galleries.

The Second NFB film is Helene Klodawky’s No More Tears Sister - Anatomy of Hope and Betrayal from 2004. 

It’s described as a story of love, revolution, and betrayal. Klodawsky explores the price of truth in times of war. Set during the violent ethnic conflict that has enveloped Sri Lanka for decades, the documentary recreates the courageous life of renowned human rights activist, Dr. Rajani Thiranagama. Mother, anatomy professor, and symbol of hope, Rajani was assassinated at the age of thirty-five. Stunningly photographed, using rare archival footage, intimate correspondence, and recreations, the story of Rajani and her family is one of a revolutionary woman and a dangerous pursuit of justice.

Both films can be viewed for free on the NFB website ( by participants on their own time before gathering on Zoom for an enriching discussion. To get the link for the online discussion, held in partnership with RiverBrink Art Museum, send an email to [email protected].

As well, the museum is hosting a special lecture about the upcoming solar eclipse on March 21. 

Dr. Brian Pihack, longtime president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Niagara Centre, presents an evening of information, explaining how best and safely to experience this April 8 event.

Dr. Pihack has been presenting lectures for over two decades on Astronomy, Geology and Paleontology. He is a former national representative to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, who presented him with their Award of Merit Medal. In 2021 during a conference of the International Association of Astronomers in France, a newly discovered asteroid was named in his honour.

Admission is free for NOTL Museum members or $10 for non-members. Participants will receive a free pair of viewing glasses with their attendance. Registration is required as space is limited. Register by contacting the museum.