Exhibition explores the vibrant culture of the Haida

October 8, 2010

Posted on: 08/10/2010

Exhibition explores the vibrant culture of the Haida

Gatineau, Quebec, October 7, 2010 — The remarkable sophistication and complexity of the vibrant Haida culture is explored in a special exhibition presented from October 8, 2010 to January 23, 2011 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Haida: Life. Spirit. Art. features more than 80 masterpieces from the outstanding Haida collection of the McCord Museum in Montréal.

Most of the objects date from the 18th and 19th centuries and reflect the great skill of Haida artists and the richness of their ancient culture. The artifacts range from intricate bentwood boxes to a beautifully painted woven hat; from carved fish-hooks to model totem poles. They provide fascinating insights into a culture that took root thousands of years ago in Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) and remains vibrant today along Canada’s Northwest Coast.

“This exhibition is a wonderful complement to our own permanent exhibits devoted to the Haida’s captivating and enduring culture,” says Dr. Victor Rabinovitch, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. “We are grateful to the McCord Museum for organizing this exhibition and allowing us to share it with our visitors.”

The exhibition, which debuted at the McCord Museum, was developed with the guidance of renowned Haida artist Robert Davidson, and also features his art and insight. Davidson has described art as the Haida’s only written language, preserving ancient customs and beliefs and keeping the Haida spirit alive.

Most of the artworks were collected in 1878 during a visit to Haida Gwaii by George Mercer Dawson, then chief geologist of the Geological Survey of Canada.

Haida: Life. Spirit. Art. is presented from October 8, 2010 to January 23, 2011 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec.
An exhibition produced by the McCord Museum, Montréal, with the generous support of the Museum Assistance Program, Canadian Heritage.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization is the centre for research and public information on the social and human history of the country. Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Museum is Canada’s largest and most popular cultural institution, attracting over 1.3 million visitors each year. The Museum of Civilization’s principal role is to preserve and promote the heritage of Canada for present and future generations, thereby contributing to the promotion and enhancement of Canadian identity.

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