From solo exhibition: Daughters of Uranium, 2019-2020
Antique glass hydrometers [Collection of the artist; gift from Mary Adelia Kavanagh]
Mary Adelia (McQuhae) Kavanagh, 1919 | Inkjet prints, 5”x7”; 5”x3” [Kavanagh Family Archives]
Mary Kavanagh’s paternal grandparents were career chemists who graduated from the University of Toronto in the early 1930s. Assembling components of laboratories bought at auction after World War Two, they established a laboratory in the basement of their Toronto home.
From the Kavanagh’s family archive these photographs depict the artist’s paternal grandmother convalescing after contracting the “Spanish Flu” in 1918. Born in 1909, Mary Adelia McQuhae was nine years old when she underwent lung surgery in a bid to save her life.
In the photographs taken the following spring, the young Mary can be seen enjoying open-air treatment, which prescribed patients fresh air and sunshine. She is seen with her family in front of a peaked canvas tent with Toronto homes in the background.