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Canadian museum partnership prepares Haida exhibition for European tour
Bowl, 1800-1850 © McCord Museum, ACC1172. Photo: Marilyn Aitken.

GATINEAU.- The Canadian Museum of Civilization announced that it has forged a groundbreaking partnership with two other Canadian museums to produce Haida: Life. Spirit. Art., a travelling exhibition that will be presented exclusively in Europe. The partners are the McCord Museum in Montréal and the Haida Gwaii Museum in Skidegate, British Columbia.

Haida: Life. Spirit. Art. will tour European museums, introducing their audiences to the remarkable sophistication and complexity of the Haida culture of Canada’s Pacific Northwest Coast. The exhibition will feature an outstanding collection of historical and contemporary artworks from the Civilization and McCord Museums, complemented by words and images from today’s Haida Gwaii, the island homeland of the Haida people. This is the first time Canada’s national history museum has collaborated with other Canadian institutions to produce an exhibition intended solely for presentation overseas.

“By pooling our resources and expertise, we are creating an exhibition of exceptional quality that will enhance the world’s understanding of our First Peoples and their rich and enduring cultures,” said Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. “As Canada’s national history museum, we are proud to partner with the McCord and Haida Gwaii Museums on this exciting project.”

Haida: Life. Spirit. Art. stems from an exhibition produced in 2006 at the McCord Museum as a showcase for its stellar collection of historical Haida art. The exhibition was featured in 2010-2011 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, which proposed the development of this new version under the auspices of its Travelling Exhibitions Service. The Service enables the Museum of Civilization to fulfill its mandate for national and international outreach.

“We are very pleased to be associated with the Canadian Museum of Civilization in producing this travelling exhibition and bringing our extraordinary collection to Europe,” said Suzanne Sauvage, President and CEO of the McCord Museum, one of the most important history museums in Canada. “We want to thank the Canadian Museum of Civilization for this initiative, and the Haida Gwaii Museum for its invaluable participation, which will ensure the project is a success.”

In its new incarnation, Haida: Life. Spirit. Art. is broadened and enriched by the presence of contemporary Haida voices and perspectives that join the existing artistic insights of world renowned Haida artist Robert Davidson. The addition of important historic and contemporary artworks from the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and of breath-taking images from the Museum of Haida Gwaii offer an extraordinary experience for the museum visitor.

“This exhibition will focus international attention on the ancient and enduring culture of the Haida and their incomparable and beautiful homeland, Haida Gwaii—a place that has inspired Haida artists for thousands of years and continues to produce some of Canada’s most talented artists today”, said Nathalie Macfarlane, Director of the Haida Gwaii Museum. “We’re proud to be a partner in this important initiative.”

The dates and venues for the European tour will be confirmed in the coming year.

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