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aboriginal art

Northwest Coast Art Transforms the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

THE MCMICHAEL CANADIAN ART COLLECTION WELCOMES THE WORK OF CONTEMPORARY NORTHWEST COAST ARTISTS

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Calvin Hunt’s Sun Mask and Dempsey Bob’s Wolves in the Snow Blanket are among the contemporary works of Northwest Coast Aboriginal art on display at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection (photos: Craig Boyko)

SEPTEMBER 19 TO FEBRUARY 15 Most of us can picture the iconography of the Haida, Tlingit, Coast Salish and other peoples native to the Pacific Northwest: we’ve seen the historical totem poles, masks and textiles depicting whales, eagles, bears, salmon and wolves. But art, of course, doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is renowned for showing us how modern visual storytellers—particularly those of Aboriginal heritage—balance a respect for tradition with an urge to innovate. The gallery’s “Transforming Spirit” exhibition is a perfect example of this mandate, with nearly 50 works by contemporary Northwest Coast artists, including the highly regarded likes of Bill Reid, Robert Davidson and Dempsey Bob. Decorative masks are among the show’s highlights, illustrating the connection between humans, animals and the spirit world that’s intrinsic to many First Nations cultures, while also signaling the renewal of such beliefs through the use of modern techniques and materials.  —Craig Moy

• McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 10365 Islington Ave., 905-893-1121; mcmichael.com
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Discover the First Nations “Group of Seven” at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

ABORIGINAL ARTISTS ARE IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS SUMMER AT THE MCMICHAEL CANADIAN ART COLLECTION

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Flock by Jackson Beardy is among the many contemporary works by Aboriginal artists now on display at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

MAY 9 TO SEPTEMBER 7  A daytrip to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection is a must for anyone seeking a view of this country’s visual arts. Nestled in verdant woodland, the gallery presents our national narrative in historical and contemporary paintings, photographs, sculptures and more. Works by First Nations and Inuit artists—and those inspired by the Aboriginal experience—are particularly well represented in the McMichael’s collection and exhibitions: through September 7, it highlights the other Group of Seven, known as Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., with a survey of works that helped to bring Aboriginal art to prominence in the mid 20th century. Also on the gallery grounds (to October 18) is Thom Sokoloski’s Colour of the River Running Through Us, an installation of canoe-like structures influenced by our First Peoples’ relationship with water.  —Craig Moy

• McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 10365 Islington Ave., Kleinburg, 905-893-1121; mcmichael.com
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