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Art Thompson (1948-2003), Whale and Pook-Ubs Transformation Mask (2002) | Photo By: Craig Boyko

August 19, 2015, KLEINBURG ON — This fall, the McMichael celebrates the wonderful gift of forty-nine incomparable works by contemporary Northwest Coast artists, donated to the Collection by noted Toronto-based collectors Jamie Cameron and Christopher Bredt. The works will be on display from September 19, 2015 to February 15, 2016 in the exhibition Transforming Spirit: The Cameron/Bredt Collection of Contemporary Northwest Coast Art, which will give visitors a unique opportunity to view the artistic development of indigenous artists based on their social and religious customs, and discover how these customs continue to be renewed and animated through non-traditional methods and materials.

“We are passionate admirers of Northwest Coast art, and are thrilled to donate our collection, featuring the work of twenty-seven artists, to the McMichael,” said Jamie Cameron and Christopher Bredt.

The works featured in the exhibition include bentwood boxes, rattles, blankets, a maquette of the Don Yeomans totem pole found in the McMichael’s Grand Hall, and works on paper, all by well-known artists. There are also many examples of an object important for its expressive qualities -the mask, a form for communicating the importance of nature, animals, and human beings, as well as imagined characters, which are at the core of many First Nations cultures.

The artworks were created by artists during the latter half of the twentieth to twenty-first centuries and demonstrate both the individual interpretation and re-interpretation of their cultural past, social organization and religious beliefs. Both traditional art materials such as wood, cloth, abalone shells, cedar bark are used in addition to non-traditional mediums such as acrylic painting, screen-printing and etching.

“The McMichael is excited to host this exhibition displaying this extraordinary gift of contemporary art from Jamie Cameron and Christopher Bredt, long-time patrons of McMichael,” said Dr. Victoria Dickenson, Executive Director and CEO of the McMichael. “Showcasing these works will not only highlight the vision of the collectors, but will also showcase the contributions First Nations artists are making to our country’s cultural heritage.”

Art Thompson’s Whale and Pook-Ubs Transformation Mask (2002) is one of the highlights of the show – measuring close to three feet wide and four feet high – and depicts the cultural narrative of a person lost at sea during a whale hunting trip. This individual was transformed into a being of the Spirit World. The mask is not only highly decorative, but is also technically complex as careful selection of the wood was required to ensure all of the elements to operate the mask worked together. The masks comprise the largest portion of the donation in this collection.

Art Thompson (1948-2003), Whale and Pook-Ubs Transformation Mask, 2002, red cedar, cedar bark, horse hair, abalone, paint, metal hinges, strings, closed: 131.6 x 86.8 x 45.6 cm, open: 122.9 x 100.2 x 37.3 cm, Gift from the Cameron/Bredt Collection, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 2014.6.47. Photo: Craig Boyko.

“The contemporary masks and other works of art provide a tangible expression of identity by signaling recognition of the enduring spirit of cultural history,” said exhibition curator, Chris Finn. “The traditions within the various cultures have inspired people to record the past in order to reflect on their origins, maintain memories of their ancestors, as well as register the momentous events which honour the symbols of their lineage and their heritage.”

In addition to this exhibition, a catalogue of the collection will be available with new photography of the forty-nine objects and works on paper. The catalogue includes an essay by author and specialist in Northwest Coast art, Gary Wyatt, as well as a curatorial overview of the art and artists represented in the collection.

McMichael Canadian Art Collection
10365 Islington Ave. (north of Major Mackenzie Dr.) Kleinburg, ON L0J 1C0

Daniela Travierso-Galati
905.893.1121 ext. 2210


Gallery Talk: Collecting Passion
Speakers: Jamie Cameron and Christopher Bredt in conversation with Sarah Stanners

Saturday, November 7, 11 am to 12 pm

This fall, the McMichael’s special exhibition is inspired by the generous donation of Northwest Coast art by noted Toronto-based collectors Jamie Cameron and Christopher Bredt. This conversation, led by Sarah Stanners, the McMichael’s Director of Curatorial and Collections, will examine the twenty-five year development of the Cameron/Bredt contemporary collection and provide unique insight into the nature of collecting.

Fee: included with gallery admission.

Registration required. Call 905.893.1121 ext. 2209, or visit for more information.

About Jamie Cameron and Christopher Bredt
Jamie Cameron and Christopher Bredt are both celebrated lawyers. Jamie is a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and one of Canada’s most distinguished senior constitutional scholars, while Christopher is equally distinguished as a senior litigation partner with Borden Gervais LLP in Toronto. Both serve on numerous boards. Jamie was a member of the McMichael Board of Trustees from 2004 to 2013, the last two years serving as Vice-Chair. She and Christopher are frequent visitors to the gallery, and they are among its most significant donors. Their art collections include important holdings of Canadian art and stunning works by Inuit and Northwest Coast artists.

About the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation. 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 almost 6,000 artworks by Canadian artists, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on 100 acres of northern landscape and hiking trails at 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in the City of Vaughan. For more

Media Contacts:

Daniela Travierso-Galati
Media Relations and Communications Coordinator
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
905.893.1121 ext. 2210

Connie Febbraro
Associate Director, Marketing and Promotions
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
905.893.1121 ext. 2528

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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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