Unique Canadian masterpieces featured in new craft exhibition

October 25, 2006

Unique Canadian masterpieces featured in new craft exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Civilization

Gatineau, Quebec, October 25, 2006 – Superb examples of Canadian creativity take centre stage in a new exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. UNIQUE! 30 Years of Outstanding Crafts, featuring works by 70 of the country’s most accomplished craftspeople, will offer visitors a memorable insight into the development of crafts in Canada.

Drawn exclusively from the Museum’s unrivalled collection of Canadian crafts, the pieces selected for UNIQUE! reflect the remarkable depth and diversity of Canada’s craft community. Articles range from writing desks to teacups, bookbindings to silverware, fireplace tools to tapestries.

At the core of the exhibition are items created during the past 30 years by recipients of the annual Saidye Bronfman Award, Canada’s foremost recognition for excellence in the crafts.

“Among the hallmarks of any culture are the works produced by its finest craft artists,” noted Dr. Victor Rabinovitch, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. “This exhibition reflects the vision, passion and skill of Canadian craftspeople who are helping to define this country’s design culture. All of these contemporary masterpieces are part of the Museum’s permanent collection.”

Curator Alan C. Elder selected the artifacts presented in the exhibition. “Every piece in this exhibition is exceptional for its design and execution,” he said. “In a modern world awash with mass-produced, disposable products, these creations testify to the enduring appeal of unique objects crafted with imagination and care by human hands. Each one is an expression of contemporary inventiveness and creativity produced through traditional techniques.”

UNIQUE! features about 120 articles handcrafted from materials such as clay, glass, textiles, wood and metal. Some of the objects strike a universal chord, while others are uniquely Canadian, clearly reflecting the time and place of their creation. For instance, Maurice Savoie’s imagery is combined with Louise Bousquet’s Limoges-style porcelain in a plate that addresses urban issues throughout the world, while Susan Warner Keene treats the words of 19th-century Canadian writers as artifacts in her work Verso No. 1, on handmade paper.

This exhibition celebrates the 30th anniversary of The Saidye Bronfman Award, instituted in 1977 by the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation to recognize and honour the high levels of excellence achieved by Canadian craft artists. The 2006 recipient, ceramist and sculptor Peter Powning, is among those featured in the exhibition.

Other professional craftspeople represented are furniture maker Michael Fortune; silversmith Lois Etherington Betteridge; guitar maker William (Grit) Laskin; painter-weaver Micheline Beauchemin; ceramic artist Léopold L. Foulem; wood turner Michael Hosaluk; bookbinder Louise Genest; and the late, multi-talented Bill Reid, a Haida metalsmith, woodcarver and jeweller. All are past winners of the Saidye Bronfman Award and are represented in the Bronfman Collection at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

UNIQUE! 30 Years of Outstanding Crafts will be presented until August 5, 2007 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation.

Media Information:

Chief, Media Relations
Canadian Museum of C