Each Operation Yellow Ribbon Gala we have commissioned artists to create HELMETS AS ART,  that are then auctioned off during the evening of the Gala.


This year we focused on local artists to participate in our Helmets as Art project.


We are thrilled to let you know that the Art Gallery of Hamilton has graciously offered to display the helmets prior to the Gala, on November 1, 2 & 3, 2016. Viewing will be available November 1st from 6 - 9 pm, November 2nd from 11 am - 6 pm and November 3rd from 11 am - 8 pm.  The Silent Auction will be held at the OYR Gala on November 8th.


The Silent Auction proceeds from your work on these helmets, will help raise the necessary funds to help support the young men and women of the Canadian Forces and their families. The funds raised from the Gala and the “Helmets as Art” silent auction are used to support funding for unexpected emergencies, financial assistance, practical and moral support for our soldiers deployed and at home including their families as well as the Regimental family that stands behind them. In support of Canada Company and its various programs as well as the Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services, and the Hamilton Community Foundation. Canada Company is a charitable, non-partisan organization that serves to build the bridge between business and community leaders and the Canadian military. Their goal is to ensure that the men and women in our Canadian Forces receive the widest support, care and recognition that they deserve.



This years artists and the description of their work. Photos to be added following our opening at the AGH.









Robert Baird


Robert a graphic artist from Hamilton has spent the last 8 years comprising work through various types of visual communicative arts. A graduate of  Sheridan College with a focus in traditional art forms and mediums, has paved the way for Robert skills. While his current scope of work is based more so on Branding & Identity, skills like illustration, painting, & typography influence his designs and process.

Before becoming a graphic designer, Robert was a self-taught artist which provided him opportunities to paint several large scale murals. Companies such as Budweiser, Steam Whistle Jägermeister and even Sheridan College were amongst some of the brands Robert has painted murals for.



Nerves of Steel

Being a Hamiltonian, I wanted to pay homage to the men and women from this great city that have represented our country, and our city throughout the various inclinations of conflict Canada has served through. I wanted something that looked wearable, and yet was still a piece of art no matter which way you looked at it.



Stacey Camp


Most of my artistic career has been spent doing art shows, group shows and in galleries throughout Ontario. For the first time ever I have recently rented studio space in Hamilton's own Cotton Factory.

I spent the first two years of my formal education at OCAD and finished my Bachelors of fine arts at the Alberta College of Art and Design. After graduating in 2003 and moving back home to Ontario I have built up my CV showing my work in a number of galleries including the Engine gallery, have hung at TIFF. I'm also a past member of Artist Inc. and sat on the executive of the Women's Art Association of Hamilton.

My paintings are done mostly on canvas, cotton, linen or wood. I use acrylic paint because it lets me obtain almost automatic results. This is important because I like to work in layers and am constantly revisiting each surface. I tend to work on a number of pieces at one time to keep the dialog of painting more constant.

I deal with formal elements such as colour, shape and the constantly struggling with balance and composition. The direct use of pigment and semi-choreographed strokes of paint build up illusions of depth.

Presently I'm exploring themes of patience and the limbo between drawing an painting.

Inspiration is somewhat fueled by fossils and colonial organisms such as the Portuguese man o'war who appears to be an single organism but is actually formed of separate highly specialized colonies.

Someone experiencing a great loss once told me what she saw in my paintings. She said to her they represented happiness and optimism. Honestly I was surprised and honored at the same time.  I had never though of them as being so powerful. If you can make one person feel something from art, especially abstract art, I think that is very special. I will never forget this and would love this opportunity to share my art with soldiers, vets and everyone in between.


This helmet stands for the freedom soldiers fight for. The freedom of self-expression the ability to live life being true to who we are.  I paint fiercely and abstractly. My work is full of energy as the different values fight for their home in the illusion of depth and space. As shape meets plain the negative becomes positive. With the act of creating comes the unavoidable fate of permanency, time and colour are sacrificed being forced to lay still captured on canvas.



Zofia Glab


 Zofia Glab (born in Ontario, 1994) works within the scope of figurative art using two- and three-dimensional media practices including drawing, acrylic painting, photography and sculpture. Pursuing these areas of study, she recently completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in the Honours Fine Arts Studio Practice program at the University of Waterloo, with a minor in Classical Studies. Her thesis work was comprised of military portraits which were on display in the University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG) in March 2016. She currently lives and practices beside the “Mountain” in Grimsby, Ontario.



Zofia Glab, “Carry”, Mixed media, 2016

This piece deals with themes of memory and connection both emotionally and physically. The collage of portraits captures unique individuals representing different relationships as well as different stages of life. Friends and family alike, they stand for the emotional ties the bearer of this helmet may have at home and in the Forces. The hands holding the helmet in position are the physical connection. They give a sense of action and use to helmet as the hands are directly engaged with the object, but whether the helmet is being donned, removed, or adjusted is up to the viewer’s interpretation

Artist Statement

A deep fascination with the human form is explored as I strive to capture the emotive power of portraiture in my artistic practice. Coupled with recent study of the modern military to explore themes of transformation and connection, a series of close-cropped acrylic renderings of soldiers’ faces was made under the title Basics. It was an attempt to find the thread of commonality between the audience and the subject without the interjection of politics. Snapshots of faces portrayed basic human expressions that were instantly familiar. While indications of the military were still present, they were sidelined as the faces and eyes took precedent.

Vivid colour used in the background created a feeling of vibrancy and immediacy, situating the images in the present. Whether a civilian or a soldier, the prime objective is for the artwork to have an immediate connection with the audience by reflecting our basic human emotions.



Tiffany Huta


Originally located in the Hamilton area, venturing to Toronto for ten years and now back in Hamilton, Tiffany gets a lot of her inspiration for her pieces from her surroundings. People she meets or things she sees along the day to day grind will inspire her to commit them into a visual journal of works.  She graduated from OCAD University in 2011 with an Honours Bachelor Degree in Design, majoring in Environmental Design. Since then, she has moved forth to not only being involved in but also curate art exhibits in the Toronto for well over six years. Her style mainly focuses on a mix of fine art, illustration and mixed media.



We all fight battles, whether they are internal or external. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose, thats the beauty of the life we live. It builds character and makes us who we are. Remember to always go for the light, ride the wave, see the beauty in the small things, and keep on reaching.  In memory of Private Spencer Dean Tillapaugh (Tilley) 1989-2014.




Richard Kowalchuk


I would describe myself as an artistic “Jack of all Trades”. Like everyone else, I’ve produced artworks since the age of one or so. Then, when I was in grade 7, I helped illustrate a book on Hamilton’s history; in grade 11 I started doing political cartoons for a local newspaper; and then in university did ad/ illustrations and cartoons for various newspaper, publishers and stores. During university I developed a very wide range of skills in a wide variety of media.

 As a high school art teacher this served me well as I could teach students all manner of media from painting to pottery, sculpture to printmaking, airbrush to photography, etc.

 Some of my artistic motivation is related to demand. (e.g. when I wanted to mural my classic car I learned how to airbrush) When someone wanted a retirement cartoon I created one…… and so on.

 My current motivation relates to the often remote environments I find myself when pursuing another passion….fly fishing.

Grandparents often have a unique connection with their grandchildren that parents do not experience with their own kids. Such was the relation I had with my maternal grandfather. Albert Edward Kneebone was from Cornwall, England and fought in the Great War.

As a young volunteer he joined up with aspirations to be a machine gun observer in the Royal Flying Corps but ended up with his feet firmly planted in the mud of the trenches. He became a sniper in the Rifle Brigade, formerly known as the King’s Rifles. When I was a small child he shared with me various stories and experiences of trench warfare as well as general descriptions and stories of the World War One. He did not glorify the war at all, being a devout Christian, but he did share stories with humour, humanity, pathos, adventure, and morality.

My grandfather was one of the lucky ones. He died in his bed, in his eighties, in his home, here in Hamilton.

Every Remembrance Day as I listen to “In Flander’s Fields”, I think of my grandfather and his experiences as a young man in the muck and blood, fighting a war for king and country, in a foreign land…..for unclear reasons…..because it was his duty.

My concept for the helmet is to incorporate visual elements of the Vimy Ridge memorial, in France. As we approach the one hundredth anniversary it is appropriate that we recognize the personal sacrifices as well as the significance this event had on building Canadian identity.  By painting this helmet I can honour not just all soldiers from that war, and that battle, but also Canadian soldiers and their allies, who over the generations have heeded the call to duty.

Operation Yellow Ribbon continues to recognize these sacrifices and works to support those that heed that call to duty.


The Vimy Helmet
The Battle of Vimy Ridge, during WWI is Canada's most famous military victory. This event is often touted as the birth of Canadian identity. The striking memorial, in France, stands as a remembrance to the more than 10,000 Canadians lost in the assault. But more than that, it represents to Canadians a sum of all the lives lost in the Great War.

The helmet features the figure of a mourning Mother Canada, or “Canada Bereft”, displayed on the front. The back of the helmet shows the Vimy monument, in France. On the right hand side is the badge of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and on the left side is a poppy, reminding us of Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s poem, “In Flanders Fields”. Finally, behind the main images are blowing leaves creating a “camo” effect while at the same time representing fallen Canadian soldiers as fallen maple leaves.



Deb Mack


As a self-taught artist born in Hamilton, I took up oil painting in my teens & dabbled years in between only seriously getting back into painting again with acrylics the last 7 yrs. & loving it. The more I do the better I seem to be getting & this 61 yr. young lady is not done yet… I’m  just getting started. I think creating a helmet such as this would be a honour. My dad was a Vet in WW2 & I am grateful, humbled for what these men & women did & do for their country.


"Well, when I took on this project I didn't really know anything about the Rileys [RHLI] even the name Riley being associated with them, just a name I'd heard of. Being a Hamiltonian I felt a little ashamed of that, especially since my Dad was a vet.I had much to learn.

 In order to do the helmet justice, the Rileys justice, I had to get to know them. What uniforms did they wear , what events happened in their lives. The times that they were away from home missing their families while fighting for their country. The more I read about them the more I wanted to tell their stories as best I could & not just paint a pretty picture on a helmet. I hope I've captured that."

Deb Mack, a proud Hamiltonian

Helmets as Art, 2014

Helmets as Art, 2012

NOVEMBER 8TH, 2016, 6:30 PM