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Curated by Project coordinated by Patty Johnson & Michael Erdmann
October 22 – October 22, 2020
Haida Made: New Collaborations in Design documents a unique cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration between First Nations artists and Canadian product designers. Through the push and pull of this partnership, we have balanced cultural preservation and forward-looking design solutions and developed new methods and new vernacular that respects and elevates local traditions. Seeking cultural and ecological sustainability, the project explores traditional Haida knowledge and practices (such as the harvest and weaving of cedar bark), proposing new product applications (furniture, home accessories, etc.) for underutilized resources.
The exhibition is a record of the project’s first year and weaves together elements of contemporary art, craft production, ethnobotany, anthropology, community development and modern design. Speculative work is presented alongside documentation of traditional forms to investigate the role of design and reveal the process of new product development. In contrast with the familiar, historical presentations of First Nations culture – artifacts preserved under glass – Haida Made presents something much more dynamic: a living, breathing culture with a critical role in Canada’s future.
The project is generously supported by Coastal First Nations: Great Bear Initiative, Vancouver, and Fresh Ground new works, Harbourfront Centre’s national commissioning programme, Toronto. Additional consultation was provided by Old Massett Village Council, Haida Gwaii and the Centre for Livelihoods and Ecology at the Royal Roads University in Victoria.
Part of Fresh Ground new works, Harbourfront Centre’s national commissioning programme.
A key component of Harbourfront Centre’s mandate is to champion the creation of new artistic works, providing a platform for innovation, creation and excellence. Recognizing that some of the most creative and fascinating work being produced across the country today is the result of artists working in different ways and through non-traditional collaborations, Harbourfront Centre launched Fresh Ground new works in 2004. This legacy programme is a catalyst for new Canadian artistic works incorporating more than one discipline. Through open national submission calls in 2005, 2007 and 2008 Harbourfront Centre has awarded $300,000 or 14 new Canadian commissions.
To learn more about HAIDA MADE: NEW COLLABORATIONS IN DESIGN and Fresh Ground new works, Harbourfront Centre’s national commissioning programme, click here.