Thursday 4 June 2009

Media Preview: June 25th, see the Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast exhibition before it opens



A McMichael Exclusive! Exhibition of Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast will be on display this summer.

When: Thursday, June 25, 2009, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Where: McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg (just north of the Major Mackenzie Drive, Islington Avenue intersection)

Why: Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast, organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and guest-curated by Vancouver-born Ian M. Thom – the resident expert on British Columbia’s art and artists – will be exclusively shown at the McMichael this summer before it goes on tour. The McMichael and Douglas & McIntyre have co-published a landmark book by the same name, written by Thom. The forty artists included in the exhibition have been selected by Ian Thom and each artist has built a substantial and important career. They address, in their own ways, an important visual and cultural tradition in a unique, personal voice. Lastly, and perhaps most controversially, each artist produces work of remarkable depth, beauty and quality. Moreover, the curator has attempted, wherever possible, to select recent, newly created work in direct consultation with the artists themselves.

Meet exhibition curator and author, Ian M. Thom; meet McMichael Executive Director and CEO, Tom Smart.

What: This summer, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, renowned for exclusively showcasing Canadian art, will feature an extraordinary exhibition of Northwest Coast contemporary art. Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast explores the re-emergence of the art of the Northwest Coast. View over seventy works by 21st-century contemporary First Nations artists who have taken traditional Northwest Coast artistic practices and infused them with modern cultural influences.

Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast has been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Culture, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation. The publication and accompanying curatorial research has been generously funded by the Audain Foundation.

About the Gallery

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Culture. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of more than 5,500 artworks, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, First Nations, and Inuit artists.

The gallery is located on Islington Avenue, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in Kleinburg, and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors/students and $30 for families. There is a $5 fee for parking. For more information about the gallery visit


Image credit: Bill Henderson (Kwakwaka’wakw, b.1950), Sun Mask,2007–2008, yellow cedar, cedar bark rope, acrylic, 147.3 x 147.3 x 9.1 cm, Private Collection, Courtesy of Inuit Gallery of Vancouver Ltd. Photograph by Kenji Nagai

To RSVP, for further information or to receive high resolution photographs, contact:

Stephen Weir, Publicist
Gallery: 905.893.1121 ext. 2529
Toronto Office: 416.489.5868
Cell: 416.801.3101,