Artful Musing

THE BIG PICTURE: Why are foreign museums only interested in Group of Seven or Aboriginal art?

By Paul Gessell

This miniature chest, by Skidegate artist Thomas Moody, was modelled after the wooden chests designed to hold ceremonial objects in a chief’s home. 1900-1925 Thomas Moody (about 1877-1947). © McCord Museum, M5922.1-2 Photographer: Marilyn Aitken

The Canadian Museum of Civilization recently announced it is making plans to tour an exhibition of West Coast aboriginal art around several European countries during the next few years.

The exhibition — titled Haida: Life. Spirit. Art — previously appeared at Civilization and at the McCord Museum in Montreal. Most of the artifacts are owned by the McCord Museum but Civilization is spearheading the travelling project because of expertise developed over the years in forging foreign partnerships.

The announcement of this deal raises important questions: Why do foreign museums only seem interested in Canadian aboriginal art? Or is that all we offer them? (more…)