Canadian Artists

By: The Hon. Patricia Bovey

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Inside the National Gallery of Canada

Hon. Patricia Bovey: Honourable senators, today it is with pleasure that I thank all who have enabled this Senate to take steps in and outside this chamber to explore and hear voices of Canadian artists in all fields. This morning, in the foyer of the chamber, we installed works by two major Canadian artists, Endangered Shadows by Roberta Bondar and Alberta Oil Sands #6 by Edward Burtynsky. These internationally acclaimed Canadian artists deal with environmental and climate change issues in their art, mirroring and enhancing our Senate debates regarding the health of our planet.

I thank them both for these loans, and I have spoken of these works before. Both these artists work with industry as they shed light on environmental consequences — Bondar with NASA and Burtynsky with Alberta’s oil industry. The latter supported him, this series and its presentation in various sites. Each has had a very positive continuing global impact.

We also moved Yukon and B.C. artist Ted Harrison’s work, Camerons of the Yukon, from the fourth floor to the foyer outside this chamber.

Thanks, too, to artists who have been featured in the installations honouring Canada’s Black artists. This project spurred the invitation for Canada to participate in the Pan African Heritage World Museum opening next year. Noted by The Canadian Press, it drew the attention of the international publication The Art Newspaper, and they requested the March op-ed on this project. I thank them, and it was a privilege to write.

I am just back from the U.K. where I was pleased that people had seen and noted that article, and pleased that some of the Cape Dorset artists in our first Museums at the Senate, in room B-30, have had work successfully exhibited in Warsaw, as it is there now.

Thanks to Greg Hill’s report, we are expanding Indigenous artist representation in the Indigenous Peoples Committee Room. Also, 13 more Canadian curators are writing about Senate art and heritage pieces, and their essays will be posted alongside those of last year.

Just this week, I was privileged to give the Canadian Museums Association Fellows Lecture as they work toward a new museums policy. Of course, I mentioned our projects. It does behoove us to connect with the wider art sector, as we do in every other field in this chamber.

I thank Senate curator Tamara Dolan and her colleagues for their careful work in enacting our newly approved industry standard-based policies. Thank you, colleagues, and especially the Artwork and Heritage Advisory Working Group members, for recognizing Canada’s artists past and present. It is important, well received and appreciated nationally. Thank you.

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