Three major initiatives at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) are receiving critical support from RBC, directly advancing the NGC’s principal mission to increase access to art for all Canadians:
These initiatives have received a combined total of $900,000, ensuring the benefiting artists are supported through to 2024.
RBC is a longstanding supporter of the arts and emerging artists, recognizing the role they play in building vibrant communities and strong economies. Through its RBC Emerging Artists Project, providing community investments toward hundreds of arts organizations globally, RBC has helped to advance the career trajectory of over 28,000 emerging artists. Through the RBC Art Collection (established in 1929), RBC also supports emerging artists through acquisitions, installations, and engagement opportunities.
Launched in 2019 by the National Gallery of Canada, Re-Creation aims to continue telling richer and more truthful art histories. This work began in 2017 with the opening of the NGC’s Indigenous and Canadian galleries. Working with Indigenous artists, knowledge keepers, curators, researchers and community members, the NGC is commissioning and supporting the training of contemporary Indigenous artists to create works that are inspired by—or in dialogue with—historical art forms.
Through Re-Creation, the NGC hopes to support a new generation of Indigenous creators, Re-Creation is providing rich opportunities for emerging and established artists through training and mentorship.
The first works to be commissioned through Re-Creation are the regalia and chiefly possessions of artist and hereditary Chief 7idansuu James Hart of the Stastas Eagle Clan. He is carving a frontlet headdress, speaker’s staff and Raven rattle. Haida master textile artist Lisa Hageman Yahgujanaas of the Raven moiety is creating a Raven’s Tail woven chief’s robe, a pair of leggings and dance apron.
Thanks to the support of RBC Foundation, the work of these artists is now being documented by Wolastoqiyik filmmaker Jeff Bear (Tobique First Nation) of Urban Rez Productions, through a series of short films for the project (spanning a period of roughly two years).
RBC Emerging Artists Acquisition Fund
The RBC Emerging Artist Acquisition Fund will help to ensure that the artistic expressions of Canada’s emerging artists are recognized, preserved, and shared with future generations. In each of the three years of funding provided by RBC, up to four purchases will be made for inclusion in the NGC collection. In addition to providing artists with appropriate compensation for their works, being acquired through the fund will offer visibility in the NGC’s highly respected collection, amplifying their voice and artistic contributions, and reflect their contributions to Canada’s art community.
Through the support of the fund, the NGC has already acquired From 1848 to the Present/Cross-section of a Slave Ship, 2006–2018, by Montreal-based Canadian Congolese artist Moridja Kitenge Banza. The ink and graphite drawing is featured in the exhibition Rembrandt in Amsterdam. Creativity and Competition, on view at the NGC until September 6, 2021. First conceived for the Biennale of Contemporary African Art, DAK’ART, Dakar, Senegal, in 2010, Banza’s drawing develops on the teaspoon as metaphor for commodities, resources and trade. Evoking the horrendous conditions on ships used to transport enslaved Africans across the Atlantic to the Americas, the work emphasizes the legacies of slavery and colonialism that still impact the artist: his identity, memories, and sense of place in the world.
Thanks to the support of RBC Foundation, the NGC has also acquired three new works. These include Trinidad-born, Toronto-based artist Michèle Pearson Clarke’s 3-channel, HD video installation with sound Suck Teeth Compositions (After Rashaad Newsome) (2018), Les quatre récits d’Alice [Alice’s Four Stories] (2019), a video installation by Montreal-based interdisciplinary artist Myriam Jacob-Allard, originally from Abitibi-Témiscamingue, and Toronto-based African Canadian artist Esmaa Mohamoud’s steel, paint, and epoxy sculpture Faith in the Seeds 1 (2020).
La Biennale di Venezia, or Venice Biennale, is the oldest and one of the most influential curated contemporary art events in the world. With international presence exceeding half a million attendees each year, this prestigious event offers Canadian artists unparalleled exposure to the world’s top contemporary curators, collectors, dealers, arts writers, influencers, and other artists.
The Venice Biennale is the only international visual arts exhibition to which Canada sends official representation. Artists showing at the Biennale raise their global profile and, by association, that of Canada and Canadian artists. The exhibitions on view at the Canada Pavilion are commissioned by the National Gallery of Canada. In 2022 the work of Vancouver-based artist Stan Douglas will take centre stage in Venice. Douglas is recognized as one of the country’s most acclaimed contemporary artists whose multidisciplinary works, including films, photographs, and, more recently, theatre productions, often reflect on the dynamic potential embedded in pivotal historical moments.
Thanks to the support of RBC Wealth Management as Presenting Sponsor, and partner Canada Council for the Arts, Canadians artists are empowered to showcase their talents on the world stage in Venice.
“Through the RBC Emerging Artists Project and broader community investments in the arts, we support organizations that provide the best opportunity to advance an artist’s career trajectory. The efforts of the National Gallery of Canada are invaluable, providing much-needed opportunities for diverse and specifically Indigenous emerging artists to be recognized and exposed to new audiences. We are proud to support these important initiatives—and look forward to seeing the advancement of these artists’ careers in the years ahead.”
—Mark Beckles, Vice President, Social Impact & Innovation, RBC
“We are grateful to RBC for this important gift. The acquisition of works by Indigenous artists and emerging contemporary artists from diverse communities for the national collection is rooted in the Gallery’s core values of building a collection that inspires human connection and placing Indigenous ways of knowing and being at the centre of our actions. As well, RBC's financial support plays an important role in making the Canadian representation at the Canada Pavilion in Venice possible.”
—Dr. Sasha Suda, Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada
“The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is deeply appreciative of the outstanding commitment RBC has shown to the National Gallery of Canada. For nearly three decades, RBC has empowered Canadian emerging artists and been a proud partner in supporting world-class art exhibitions in Canada and on the world’s artistic stage. The Foundation is proud to recognize RBC as a charter member of our Distinguished Business Leadership Circle, an esteemed group honouring corporate leaders and champions of nation-building artistic projects.”
—Barbara Stead-Coyle, Chief Executive Officer, National Gallery of Canada Foundation
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the largest contemporary Indigenous art collection in the world, as well as the most important collection of historical and contemporary Canadian and European Art from the 14th to 21st centuries. Founded in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to art for all Canadians. To find out more about the Gallery’s programming and activities, visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
About the National Gallery of Canada Foundation
The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is dedicated to supporting the National Gallery of Canada in fulfilling its mandate. By fostering strong philanthropic partnerships, the Foundation provides the Gallery with the additional financial support required to lead Canada’s visual arts community locally, nationally and internationally. The blend of public support and private philanthropy empowers the Gallery to preserve and interpret Canada’s visual arts heritage. The Foundation welcomes present and deferred gifts for special projects and endowments. To learn more about the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, please visit https://www.gallery.ca/membership-giving/ngc-foundation
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