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Totem poles

Use for: Untitled, Totem pole

Singing 0
Musical instruments 19
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Tahltan 3
Roy Vickers "Beginnings"

Use for: Untitled, Beginnings

Amazonia: The Rights of Nature
  • March 10, 2017 - January 28, 2018
  • CURATOR: Nuno Porto
  • MOA will showcase its Amazonian collections in a significant exploration of socially and environmentally-conscious notions intrinsic to indigenous South American cultures, which have recently become innovations in International Law. These are foundational to the notions of Rights of Nature, and they have been consolidating in the nine countries that share responsibilities over the Amazonian basin. These depart from a social philosophy, known in Spanish as “buen vivir”, in which the concept of a good life proposes a holistic approach to development that intertwines notions of unity, equality, dignity, reciprocity, social and gender equality – a rallying cry to move beyond Western ideals and practices of development and progress largely measured by profit. Curated by Dr. Nuno Porto (MOA Curator, Africa and Latin America), Amazonia: The Rights of Nature will feature Amazonian works of basketry, textiles, carvings, feather works and ceramics both of everyday and of ceremonial use, representing Indigenous, Maroon and white settler communities that today articulate against the threats caused by political violence, mining, oil and gas exploration, industrial agriculture, forest fires, road building and hydroelectric plants. Challenging visitors to examine their own notions towards holistic wellbeing, the exhibition will cover more than 100 years of unsuspected relationships between Vancouver and Amazonian peoples, ideas and their struggles.
In a Different Light: Reflecting on Northwest Coast Art
  • June 22, 2017 - Spring 2019
  • CURATORS: Karen Duffek, Jordan Wilson, Bill McLennan
  • Despite sitting still in a glass case before you, some artworks never stop moving. They contain histories. They challenge us. They are more than art. In a Different Light presents more than 110 historical Indigenous artworks and marks the return of many important works to British Columbia. These objects are amazing artistic achievements. Yet they also transcend the idea of ‘art’ or ‘artifact’. Through the voices of contemporary First Nations artists and community members, this exhibition reflects on the roles historical artworks have today. Featuring immersive storytelling and innovative design, it explores what we can learn from these works and how they relate to Indigenous peoples’ relationships to their lands. With the increasing impacts of colonization in the 19th century, many Northwest Coast objects were removed from their communities. As they circulated through museums and private collections, their histories were often lost. Indigenous community members are now reconnecting with these objects and rebuilding their past. Through their eyes, you will come to see these artworks in a different light — as teachers, belongings, even legal documents. Ultimately, this inaugural exhibition of the Gallery of Northwest Coast Masterworks highlights the creativity and inventiveness of Northwest Coast artists and how they understood the world they lived in. And critically, it shows us the immense body of knowledge that endures today.
Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun: Unceded Territories
  • May 10 - October 16, 2016
  • CURATORS: Karen Duffek (MOA Curator, Contemporary Visual Arts & Pacific Northwest) and Tania Willard (artist and independent curator, Secwepemc Nation)
  • Vancouver artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, of Coast Salish and Okanagan descent, is showcased in this provocative exhibition of works that confront the colonialist suppression of First Nations peoples and the ongoing struggle for Indigenous rights to lands, resources, and sovereignty. Twenty years since his last major Canadian solo show, Unceded Territories will demonstrate the progression of Yuxweluptun’s artistry and ideas through hard-hitting, polemical, but also playful artworks that span his remarkable 30- year career, featuring a selection of brand-new works exhibited publicly for the first time. Co-curated by Karen Duffek (MOA Curator, Contemporary Visual Arts & Pacific Northwest) and Tania Willard (artist and independent curator, Secwepemc Nation), Unceded Territories promises colour and controversy through this display of over 60 of Yuxweluptun’s most significant paintings, drawings, and works in other media – a critical and impassioned melding of modernism, history, and Indigenous perspectives that records what the artist feels are the major issues facing Indigenous people today. This exhibition will undoubtedly fuel dialogue, indignation, and even spiritual awareness as it tackles land rights, environmental destruction, and changing ideas about what we can expect of Indigenous art from the Northwest Coast. The issues Yuxweluptun addresses are impossible to ignore.
In the Footprint of the Crocodile Man: Contemporary Art of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea
  • March 1, 2016 - January 31, 2017
  • CURATOR: Carol E. Mayer (MOA Curator, Pacific)
  • The Sepik River of Papua New Guinea is one of the largest river systems in the world, extraordinarily beautiful, but seldom visited. It is here that the Iatmul people, who live along its banks, have created internationally renowned works of art primarily inspired by stories of the majestic crocodile as the primordial creator. This unique exhibition will showcase the most comprehensive collection of contemporary Sepik art in North America for the first time. In addition to highlighting the exquisite carvings of Papua New Guinea’s latmul people, the exhibition will delve into their economic, cultural, and spiritual connections to the river system, drawing urgent attention to the logging and mining operations that pose environmental threats to the region. Curated by Dr. Carol E. Mayer (MOA Curator, Pacific), In the Footprint of the Crocodile Man will showcase 27 enthralling sculptural works, created by upwards of 20 Sepik artists. Carved from wood, the strikingly beautiful pieces are ornately decorated with paint, sago fiber, cowry shells, and cassowary feathers.
Layers of Influence: Unfolding Cloth Across Cultures
  • November 17, 2016 - April 19, 2017.
  • CURATOR: Jennifer Kramer
  • From birth to death, humans are wrapped in cloth worn for survival, but more importantly, wear clothing as an external expression of their spiritual belief system, social status and political identity. This stunning exhibition will explore clothing’s inherent evidence of human ingenuity, creativity and skill, drawing from MOA’s textile collection — the largest collection in Western Canada — to display a global range of materials, production techniques and adornments across different cultures and time frames. Curated by Dr. Jennifer Kramer (MOA Curator, Pacific Northwest), Layers of Influence will entrance MOA visitors with large swaths of intricate textiles often worn to enhance the wearer’s prestige, power and spiritual connection, including Japanese kimonos, Indian saris, Indonesian sarongs, West African adinkra, adire and kente cloth, South Pacific barkcloth, Chinese Qing dynasty robes, Indigenous Northwest coast blankets, Maori feather cloaks and more. A sumptuous feast for the eyes, the exhibition is an aesthetic and affective examination of humanity’s multifaceted and complex history with cloth and its ability to amplify the social, political and spiritual influence of the wearer as a functional expression of self-identity.
(In)visible: The Spiritual World of Taiwan Through Contemporary Art
  • November 20, 2015 – April 3, 2016.
  • CURATOR: Dr. Fuyubi Nakamura, MOA Curator, Asia
  • Against a backdrop of skyscrapers and mountains, ghosts and spirits haunt the island of Taiwan. Deities reside in a variety of shrines and temples or forms of natural phenomena across the island. Known for its democracy, contemporary Taiwan embraces different, often hybrid, beliefs expressed and practiced in myriad fashion. Taiwan’s urban and rural life cycles are filled with rituals and ceremonies of various faiths ranging from Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism to Christianity, Chinese folk religions and animistic beliefs of Taiwan’s Aboriginal peoples. While religion affects, challenges and intermingles with the secular world, myths, legends and fairytales add other layers to the spiritual world of Taiwan. Taiwan is home to sixteen officially recognized Aboriginal groups of Austronesian peoples and Han Chinese of various backgrounds as well as other long-term settlers and recent immigrants. Throughout its history, outside forces—Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, and Japanese—have taken a turn to ‘discover’, settle in or occupy Taiwan. They introduced or forced different religions or brought myths and legends to the island with them. As with other East Asian countries, it is common to blend different religious practices in Taiwan. The spiritual world is very much part of life and has also been the source for creative inspiration in Taiwan. (In)visible: The Spiritual World of Taiwan Through Contemporary Art explores how traditional and religious beliefs and modern values are integrated in this vibrant country. The exhibition features works by seven contemporary Taiwanese artists, who express and visualize religious beliefs, myths and the spiritual world with modern sensitivities
Heaven, Hell, and Somewhere In Between: Portuguese Popular Art
  • May 12 - October 12, 2015
  • CURATOR: Dr. Anthony Shelton, MOA Director
  • MOA delves deep into popular art of Portugal in the upcoming exhibition entitled Heaven, Hell and Somewhere In Between: Portuguese Popular Art, on view May 12 through October 12, 2015. The North American premiere of this extraordinary exhibition will include 300 Portuguese folk artworks – a distinct and eclectic mix of digital graffiti projections with popular rural creations: puppets, figurines, carnival masks, ceramics, and more. The exhibit will showcase the work of a passing generation of great artists—craftspeople, illustrators, and painters. The exhibition presents Portuguese popular art as multi-leveled, theatrical, politically astute, and individualistic. These creations provide a theatre of the nation, where art and culture are mediated through the eruption of personal, profound, and deeply felt sentiments. In fall 2015, Shelton will lead a group of enthusiastic participants on a 13-day trip to Portugal as part of MOA Journeys, an initiative launched in November 2014 with an inaugural voyage to Cuba. A unique cultural encounter, those partaking in the expedition will deepen their understanding of Portuguese society through encounters with select artists represented in the exhibition, excursions to artist studios, and cultural workshops.
c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city
  • January 21 - December 2015.
  • CURATORS Susan Rowley, Co-curator of the Museum of Anthropology, Jordan Wilson, Co-curator of the Museum of Anthropology
  • The Museum of Anthropology, the Musqueam First Nation, and the Museum of Vancouver partner on a groundbreaking exploration of an ancient landscape and living culture in a series of exhibitions entitledc̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city.
  • People often think of Vancouver as a new city, when in fact this region has been occupied for nine thousand years. Located in the area now commonly known as the neighbourhood of Marpole in Vancouver, c̓əsnaʔəm was first occupied almost five thousand years ago and became one of the largest of the Musqueam people’s ancient village sites approximately two thousand years ago. Generations of families lived at what was then the mouth of the Fraser River, harvesting the rich resources of the delta. Over the past 125 years, archaeologists, collectors, and treasure hunters have mined the c̓əsnaʔəm village and burial ground for artifacts and ancestral remains. The land has been given various names since colonialism, including Great Fraser Midden, Eburne Midden, DhRs-1, and Marpole Midden – a name under which it would receive designation as a National Historic Site in 1933. Today, intersecting railway lines, roads, and bridges to Richmond and YVR Airport obscure the heart of Musqueam’s traditional territory, yet c̓əsnaʔəm’s importance to the Musqueam community remains undiminished. The exhibition at MOA focuses on Musqueam identity and worldview. It highlights language, oral history, and the community’s recent actions to protect c̓əsnaʔəm. Rich in multi-media, it demonstrates Musqueam’s continuous connection to their territory, despite the many changes to the land. Told from the first-person perspectives of Musqueam community members both past and present, it also seeks to replicate aspects of Musqueam ways of educating. c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city at MOA will leave the visitor with a different understanding of the deep history of what is now known as Metro Vancouver. The exhibition at the Musqueam Cultural Education Resource Centre & Gallery focuses on the sophistication of the Musqueam culture – past and present. It makes connections between the expertise of pre-contact knowledge-holders and contemporary professionals. The exhibition at the Museum of Vancouver draws connections between c̓əsnaʔəm artifacts, Indigenous ways of knowing, colonialism, heritage politics, cultural resilience, and contemporary Musqueam culture. It includes graphic and 3D modelling of maps and artifacts, original videography, family-friendly interactivity, and soundscapes blending traditional and modern sounds.
Claiming Space: Voices of Urban Aboriginal Youth
  • June 1, 2014 - January 4, 2015.
  • Claiming Space: Voices of Urban Aboriginal Youth looks at the diverse ways urban Aboriginal youth are asserting their identity and affirming their relationship to both urban spaces and ancestral territories. Unfiltered and unapologetic, over 20 young artists from across Canada, the US, and around the world define what it really means to be an urban Aboriginal youth today. In doing so they challenge centuries of stereotyping and assimilation policies. This exhibit will leave visitors with the understanding that today's urban Aboriginal youth are not only acutely aware of the ongoing impacts of colonization, but are also creatively engaging with decolonizing movements through new media, film, fashion, photography, painting, performance, creative writing and traditional art forms. Artists in the exhibition include Alison Bremner (Tlingit), Deanna Bittern (Ojibwe), Jamie Blankenship-Attig (Nlaka’pamux, Secwepemc, Nez Perce, Muskoday Cree), Kelli Clifton (Tsimshian), Jeneen Frei Njootli (Vuntut Gwitchin), Ippiksaut Friesen (Inuit), Clifton Guthrie (Tsimshian), Cody Lecoy (Okanagan/Esquimalt), Arizona Leger (Fijian, Samoan, Tongan, Maori), Danielle Morsette (Stó:lō /Suquamish), Ellena Neel (Kwakwaka'wakw/Ahousaht), Zach Soakai (Tongan, Samoan), Diamond Point (Musqueam), Crystal Smith de Molina (Git’ga’at), Nola Naera (Maori), Kelsey Sparrow (Musqueam/Anishinabe), Cole Speck (Kwakwaka'wakw), Rose Stiffarm ((Siksika Blackfoot, Chippewa Cree, Tsartlip Saanich, Cowichan, A'aninin, Nakoda, French, & Scottish), Taleetha Tait (Wet’suwet’en), Marja Bål Nango (Sámi, Norway), Harry Brown (Kwakwaka'wakw), Anna McKenzie (Opaskwayak Cree, Manitoba), Sarah Yankoo (Austrian, Scottish, Algonquin, Irish and Romanian), Raymond Caplin (Mi’gmac), Emilio Wawatie (Anishanabe) and the Northern Collection (Toombz/Shane Kelsey [Mohawk], and the Curse/Cory Golder [Mi’maq]). Also included are works from the Urban Native Youth Association, Musqueam youth and the Native Youth Program. The exhibition is curated by Pam Brown (Heiltsuk Nation), Curator, Pacific Northwest, and Curatorial Assistant Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (Blackfoot, Blood Reserve/Sami, northern Norway).
  • The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Vancouver Foundation.
Without Masks: Contemporary Afro-Cuban Art
  • May 2 - November 2, 2014. Audain Gallery, MOA.
  • This exhibition features over 80 Afro-Cuban artworks collected by Chris and Marina von Christierson. Curated by Cuban poet, art critic and curator Orlando Hernández, the exhibition was first shown at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. It explores the ties that link the histories and cultures of Cuba and Africa, and includes works that reflect controversial and conflicting aspects of the Cuban national reality that continue to affect Cuban society today, including problems related to race, stereotypes and religion. MOA opens a window into the lives and struggles of Cubans of African descent in its new exhibition Without Masks: Contemporary Afro-Cuban Art. This remarkable exhibition has assembled a diverse group of 31 Cuban contemporary artists devoted to two fascinating themes: on the one hand an insight into contemporary Afro-Cuban cultural and religious traditions and, on the other, an intense dialogue on the complex racial issues affecting the country today. “MOA is a place of both historic and contemporary world arts and culture; an institution where Vancouver’s residents and visitors can develop an understanding and appreciation of the complexities of our global community,” says Nuno Porto, Curatorial Liaison for Without Masks. “Without Masks gives us opportunities to broaden our understanding of issues of global concern, such as racism today. The Afro-Cuban struggle for recognition and social equity in contemporary Cuba resonate with challenges faced by communities all over the world, including here.” Orlando Hernández, formerly of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, curated Without Masks following his own rigorous criteria. Focusing beyond aesthetic, the exhibit favours originality and the profoundness of the works’ sociological, historical, anthropological, religious, ethical and political messages. “There is a very strong African tradition in Cuba. We inherited many religious practices from Africa — Palo Monte, Santeria, Ifá, Abakuá — and there are a lot of Cubans of direct or mixed African descent,” says Curator Orlando Hernández. “InWithout Masks we seek to make new and deeper studies of those cultural, aesthetic, symbolic, and religious legacies that we share and take for granted, without forgetting that we have received them from black sub-Saharan Africa.” For Without Masks, Hernández has curated a powerful collection of artworks representing a cross-section of Afro-Cuban artists – from the internationally renowned to street and folk artists. The exhibition features 31 artists showing a total of 85 works (from the 146 which at present comprise the whole collection) spanning a range of media including painting on canvas and wood, watercolour, drawing, printing (xylography, silk-screen, calligraphy), collage, patchwork, installation, soft-sculpture, photography, video-installation and video art. All the works in the exhibition are drawn from the von Christierson Collection. Chris and Marina von Christierson, themselves South African, first visited Cuba in 2007 and were drawn to the country and its art. During this visit they met Orlando Hernández and established a collaboration with him to develop a collection of Afro-Cuban art that would show the multiple imprints of Africa in Cuba’s artistic culture. The collection was first exhibited at the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 2010 during the FIFA World Cup. A major catalogue featuring the collection is available in the MOA Shop. The collection is held by the family’s Watch Hill Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable organization.
Voices of the Canoe
  • Online exhibition:
  • Learn about the canoe traditions of the Fijian, Squamish, and Haida people and understand the historical and ongoing importance of canoe culture for these Indigenous peoples. The site features interviews from Indigenous artists, canoe makers, and others to encourage students to consider multiple points of view, and to question what is historically significant and what evidence is used to determine historical significance. It also hosts a range of evidence – photographs, maps, interviews, historical texts and short films. This website was developed by MOA in conjunction with The History Education Network/Histoire et Education en Reseau (THEN/HiER).
Paradise Lost?: Contemporary Works from the Pacific
  • July 24 - September 29, 2013. The Pacific Islands occupy a place in the Western imagination as a paradise filled with idyllic beaches and lush, tropical landscapes inhabited by dusky maidens. With historical precedents in the accounts of European explorers, these perceptions were later re-invented and popularized by Hollywood films in the 1920s through the ’50s. Contemporary artists from the Pacific Islands frequently play with and invert such perceptions, and their work provides an alternate, more complex vision of the region. Paradise Lost?: Contemporary Works from the Pacific features works by artists from Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. Working in video, installation, sculpture, painting, and photography, the artists show the Pacific Islands from an insider’s perspective. Their artworks explore environmental concerns, cultural heritage issues, questions relating to the experience of migration and diaspora, and the intersection of Indigenous belief systems and Western religions. The artists featured are George Nuku, Te Rongo Kirkwood, Greg Semu, Pax Jakupa Jr., Michael Timbin, Tom Deko, Cathy Kata, Shigeyuki Kihara, Ralph Regenvanu, Rosanna Raymond, Moses Jobo, Eric Natuoivi, and David Ambong. Curated by Dr. Carol Mayer (Curator, Africa/Pacific), and organized to coincide with the Pacific Arts Association Symposium at MOA, the exhibition will feature works displayed throughout MOA’s public spaces and at our downtown Satellite Gallery.
The Marvellous Real: Art from Mexico, 1926 - 2011
  • October 25, 2013 - March 30, 2014. In 1949, the Cuban writer and ethno-musicologist, Alejo Carpentier (1904 – 1980), coined the term the “marvellous real” to describe a particular kind of magic realism that is manifest in the arts and everyday life of Latin America. Eluding the expected through bizarre amalgamations, improbable juxtapositions, and fantastic correlations, the marvellous real is, as Carpentier said, “neither beautiful nor ugly; rather, it is amazing because it is strange.” This exhibition features 55 artworks from Mexico that capture the idea of the marvellous real. Drawn from the FEMSA Collection in Mexico, the exhibition includes works by Dr. Atl, Leonora Carrington, Jean Charlot, Juan O’Gorman, Alice Rahon, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Juan Soriano, and Rufino Tamayo, as well as a younger generation of visual artists like Carlos Amorales, Sandra Cabriada, Claudia Fernández, Adela Goldbard, Yishai Jusidman, Alejandro Santiago and Francisco Toledo. Curated by Dr. Nicola Levell (Assistant Professor, Anthropology, UBC). The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the FEMSA Collection, the Agencia Mexicana de Cooperación International Para el Desarrollo, the Consulado General de México en Vancouver, the Ollin Mexican Canadian Association for Arts, Culture and Education, and the Fundación Alejo Carpentier.
Speaking to Memory: Images and Voices from St. Michael's Indian Residential School
  • September 18, 2013 - March 2, 2014. Speaking to Memory: Images and Voices from St. Michael's Residential School grew out of a unique opportunity to present the personal experiences of First Nations children who attended St. Michael's Indian Residential School at Alert Bay, British Columbia. During the late 1930s, one student at the school had a camera and photographed many of her friends and classmates there. She recently donated these images to the Museum of Anthropology’s archive. The photos provide a rare and moving glimpse of residential school life through the eyes of students as they made a life for themselves away from families and home communities. St. Michael’s Indian Residential School operated from 1929 to 1974, and its now-empty building is in deteriorating condition. With the support of the U'mista Cultural Centre (UCC) and the 'Namgis First Nation at Alert Bay, MOA curator Bill McLennan was permitted to enter the building and photograph its interior spaces where the children had lived and worked. The resulting images, together with those of the students, are featured in Speaking to Memory, an exhibition jointly produced by McLennan and the UCC’s director Sarah Holland and curator Juanita Johnston. In Alert Bay, Speaking to Memory hangs around the exterior of the St. Michael’s school building, located beside the cultural centre. At MOA, the exhibition is presented in our O’Brian Gallery. The large photographic panels depict the interior rooms of the school as they now appear, overlaid with historical images of the children. Accompanying the images are personal statements from former students of St. Michael's school, recalling their experiences there. Quotations from a variety of sources express the Canadian government's rationale for Indian residential schools, while excerpts from the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recognize the devastating impact of the schools. In addition, one "artifact" is featured in MOA’s exhibit: the institutional food-mixing machine, recently salvaged from the school’s kitchen. The Indian residential school system was implemented in 1879 by the Canadian government to eliminate the "Indian problem"—that is, to absorb the Aboriginal population into the dominant Canadian identity, and to impose Christianity, English or French as the primary languages, and the abandonment of cultural and family traditions. St. Michael's Indian Residential School in Alert Bay was one of 140 Indian residential schools that operated in Canada.
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