Mansaram and McLuhan
One of Mansaram’s most propitious moments was his meeting with scholar Marshall McLuhan soon after his arrival in Toronto. McLuhan’s key theory, the medium is the message, stressed that the definition of a culture relies on the medium of communication in which it is expressed, thereby making the medium itself the message of that culture. For Mansaram, this was profound, and in sync with his own notions of the medium being the message of his art.
In 1969-70, Mansaram and McLuhan collaborated on a painting series where Mansaram portrayed in art the philosophies of McLuhan. Thus was born the Rear View Mirror series, which represented elements of natural ecologies, media networks and religious symbols.
Image: P. Mansaram. “Rear View Mirror #1”. 1969. Newspaper, manuscript page, doilies, other ephemera and paint on canvas. Gift of the artist. Courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum, ©ROM.