Artwork and Heritage Advisory Working Group

By: The Hon. Patricia Bovey

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Inside the National Gallery of Canada

Hon. Patricia Bovey: Honourable Senators, I rise today to thank Canadian curators who have contributed to the Senate’s Advisory Working Group on Artwork and Heritage’s projects.

Cultivating Perspectives brings Canadian voices into the Senate. One curator from each province and territory representing cultural diversities of Canada was invited to write about an artwork or heritage piece currently installed in the Senate of Canada Building. Providing a national context for the works, these essays extend the knowledge of the Senate’s collection to wider Canadian audiences from the perspectives of professionals in the arts and museums field. Together, the visual voices of the artists and the thoughts and contexts of the curators underline the importance and insights of creative expression in Canada and the many linkages to lives and lifestyles across our country. I thank them all.

Eight participating curators were women, one Inuit and one Mi’kmaq, some were emerging and some experienced. Two participants chose objects, the Black Rod and the bench, and one chose the metal photo murals. Six participants selected works by Indigenous artists, one being Inuit. Two participants chose speakers’ portraits and one a sculpture. The balance of works that authors selected and the substance and perspectives of the essays are to be commended. On June 14, the essays and images went online bilingually, with one also in Inuktitut and one in Mi’kmaq. I thank the artists and artists’ estates for their copyright permission. This fall, 13 more curators of various diversities and disciplines will be invited to contribute to this project.

I also thank Greg Hill, the National Gallery of Canada’s Audain Senior Curator of Indigenous Art. His gap analysis of Indigenous art in the Senate made 19 forward-looking recommendations to improve both representation and presentation. His lead recommendation, already endorsed by the Internal Economy Committee, is to change the name of the Aboriginal Peoples Committee Room to the “Indigenous Peoples Committee Room,” making it inclusive of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. Other aspects of Mr. Hill’s report will come forward in coming months.

The Museums in the Senate program is to be launched this fall. The first annual installation in committee room B30 will be art from Nunavut’s collection, stewarded by the Winnipeg Art Gallery. This installation aims to build bridges between north and south. In the future, museums and art galleries from across the country will participate, each celebrating their public trust.

The Honouring Canada’s Black Artists project will present its second installation in September.

I sincerely thank all who have made, and are making, these initiatives a reality. Thank you.

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